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r!{0 I 7^ . ^^Sf 

Given By 
Federal Writers' Pro.iect 



Congregational Church, Hopkins Hall, and Thompson Memorial Chapel 




Compiled and Written by 

Members of the Federal Writers' Project of the 
Worf^s Progress Administration for Massachusetts 

Sponsored by the 



Copyright, 1939, by 

[Printed in the United States of America] 



F. C. Harrington, Commissioner 

Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner 

Henry G. Alsberg, Director of the Federal Writers' Project 

Copyright Under the Articles of the Copyright Convention 
of the Pan-American Republics and the United States 


Preparation of The Berkshire Hills followed the usual technique 
of collaboration among many members of the Project. Field research 
was under the capable supervision of Miss Kathleen M. Burns, assisted 
by the following staff: for research and writing, Jacob Freedberg, 
Elizabeth Moquin, Clair Perry, Rosalie Smith, Wade Van Dore; for 
research, Harold Alley, Charlotte Busby, George Flynn, Christobel 
Kidder, William McDonald, Bessie E. Paine, Ruth Parsons, Millicent 
Russell, William Soule, Robert Wilder; for chec\ing, Milton Corbin, 
Sydney Goldberg, Rose Herbert, John Hurley, Charles Johnson, Emily 
Moore, Muriel Searles. 

Miss Burns and Mr. Melvin Peach, Supervisor, were jointly re- 
sponsible for collating and checking tour material and our compre- 
hensive data on recreation facilities, and were assisted by Walter S. 
Bell. Mr. Peach had charge of maps, drawn by Herbert J. Pierce and 
Joseph Wagner, and of illustrations. Our photographs were made by 
Edmund F. Hawes, Project photographer. 

When the workers in western Massachusetts submitted their manu- 
script to the State office, members of our editorial staff — William Fitz- 
Gerald, Richard D. McMullan, Charles Ernest White — read and criti- 
cised the copy, and turned it over to Mr. Roger Thomas for detailed 
editing preliminary to final approval by the State, Regional, and Fed- 
eral Directors. All New England books are produced under the general 
supervision of Mr. Frank Manuel, Regional Director; to this volume 
especially Mr. Manuel gave close personal attention, working con- 
sistently with me in the last editorial revision. 

The Federal Writers' Project is sincerely grateful to the many 
people of Massachusetts who have in various ways helped toward the 
production of this book. The Berkshire Hills Conference, Inc., not 
only set its official seal of approval upon it by acting as sponsor, but 
in all stages of the work was generous with information and advice. 
Professor Walter Prichard Eaton of Yale, to whom the Berkshires are 
home ground, sacrificed time from his crowded schedule to read our 

vi Foreword 

manuscript and to write the Introduction; it gives us special pleasure 
to record our thanks for his kindness. And The Berkshire Hills could 
not have had its homely flavor except for the friendly interest of 
dozens of Berkshire folk who gave our field workers the facts and 
fiction of the hills. 

Muriel E. Hawks 

State Director 



Foreword v 

Introduction by Walter Prichard Eaton xi 

I. Industry Penetrates the Hills i 

Florida, Clarkjburg and North Adams 

II. Traditions That March On 27 


III. Oil Lamps and Ballots .44 

Neuf Ashford, Hancoc\ and Lanesborough 

IV. Metropolis in the Heart of the Berkshires .... 64 


V. Hay and Summer People 87 

Richmond and West Stocf{bridge 

VI. Midas Touches the Hills 103 

Stoc\bridge and Lenox 

VII. Bread Out of Stones and Paper 134 


VIII. Locked Among the Hills 149 

Great Barrington and Sheffield 

IX. In the Far Corner 172 

Alford, Egremont and Mount Washington 

X. The Berkshires Invaded 187 

Neu/ Marlborough, Monterey, Tyringham and Sandis- 

XI. Where Past and Present Meet 207 

Otis, Becket and Washington 


viii Contents 


XII. Paper and the Smell of Pines 226 

Hinsdale and Dalton 

XIII. Where Old New England Lingers 243 

Peru, Windsor and Savoy 

XIV. In the Valley of the Hoosic 258 

Cheshire and Adams 

Berkshire Sports — Winter and Summer 277 

Index 361 



Main Street of Williamstown Frontispiece 

Looking Toward North Adams from the Mohawk Trail . . 32 

Skiing on Sheep Hill Near Williamstown 33 

Modern Schoolhouse at New Ashford 48 

Hancock, in a Secluded Valley of the Taconics 49 

Balance Rock at Lanesborough .64 

Plant of United States Gypsum Company at Farnam's Station, 

Cheshire 65 

City Park, Pittsfield, on a Bright Autumn Day 80 

Crane Memorial Room, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield ... 81 

Historic Stevens Tavern in Richmond .96 

West Stockbridge Center Church 97 

Jonathan Edwards' Study, Mission House, Stockbridge . . .112 

The Old Indian Mission House at Stockbridge 113 

Church on the Hill, Lenox 128 

The Henderson House, Great Barrington 129 

A Picturesque Old Bridge at South Lee 144 

Paper Mill on the Housatonic River at Lee 145 

A Covered Bridge in Sheffield 160 

View of Jug End at South Egremont 161 

Paper Mill and Mill Pond, Dalton 176 

Bash Bish Falls, Mount Washington 177 


X Illustrations 


Congregational Church at Monterey Center 192 

The Kitson Studio in Tyringham 193 

Circular Stone Barn in Hancock Shaker Village 208 

Otis Center, the Civic Heart of Otis 209 

A Gentle Hint to the Motorist 224 

Autumn on the Farmington River Near Sandisfield .... 225 

The Mountaintop Village of Peru 240 

Stafford Tower, Cheshire, and Mount Greylock 241 

Mount Greylock and the Thunderbolt Ski Run 266 

Quaker Meetinghouse at Adams 267 


The Berkshire Hills geographically are merely that portion of the 
great Appalachian chain which lies in western Massachusetts. But 
no hills amid which people have lived long can be considered merely 
as geography, nor even chiefly as geography. They color the Ufe which 
goes on in their valleys and on their slopes, and that life in turn colors 
them. Before Wordsworth and his fellows made famous and romantic 
the hills and vales of northwestern England, the Lake Country had 
done something to the poets. Before the Berkshire Barrier — that high 
plateau which separates the Connecticut valley from the valleys of the 
Housatonic and Hoosac Rivers — was much more than a wilderness, a 
little boy grew up in Cummington and while still in his teens wrote 
"Thanatopsis" and "To a Wild Fowl." Bryant, to be sure, was not the 
first literary light in the Berkshires. Half a century earlier, while 
preacher to the Stockbridge Indians, Jonathan Edwards wrote The 
Freedom of the Will. But that great work, after all, contributed litde 
to our appreciation of Nature, nor drew its inspiration from the local 
scene. Jonathan was too concerned with the next world to bother about 
this one. 

William Cullen Bryant in verse, Catherine Sedgwick in fiction, 
were the first to make effective use of our local scene in literature 
and thus to draw attention to the local flavors and to color the future. 
Neither of them, to be sure, did so thoroughly efficient a job as Wash- 
ington Irving at the same time did for the Catskills. Ninety-nine out of 
every one hundred Americans to this day see the Catskills as Irving 
colored them, and the fact that they aren't a bit like that any more 
doesn't trouble most of us merely because we don't go there. If Bryant 
had created as vivid a legend for the Berkshires as Irving did for those 
mountains which we can see from our Taconic divide, huddled blue 
against the west, I suppose we would resent the General Electric plant 
in Pittsfield, the Lenox villas, the cement highways, and all the other 
marks of the later nineteenth and this twentieth century. (Some of 
them, may I remark parenthetically, some of us do resent.) But no 

xii Introduction 

such overwhelming haze of legend was distilled around the Berkshires 
to remove them forever into a hushed and wistful past. What was built 
up, by action and reaction, by what our hills themselves imposed on 
their inhabitants and by what the inhabitants came to think and feel 
and write about them, may be described as a decorously passionate 
appreciation of the peculiar natural beauties of the scene and a desire 
on the part of most of our people to erect our dwellings, adorn our 
streets, and in general to conduct our community lives in keeping with 
our surroundings. We appreciate our birthright and we are proud of it 
(sometimes, I fear, a bit boastfully so), and we do our best, against 
all the pressure of commercial exploitation, to preserve it. 

Not all the writers who have lived in the Berkshires appreciated 
them. Hawthorne did not, during the year and a half he lived in a 
tiny house in Lenox at the head of Stockbridge Bowl and looked south- 
ward over the same view which now enchants the visitors to our 
Music Shed. But he was a seaboard man — and hated cold weather. At 
the same time there lived in Lenox the famous Fanny Kemble, niece 
of the more famous Sarah Siddons, and she adored the Berkshires, with 
an enthusiasm surprising in a Briton. She knew that Hawthorne's view 
across the Bowl to the blue Dome of the Taconics was lovely with the 
same qualities of subdued ruggedness and romantic repose found in 
the Lake Country, and she admired our strong growing forests and the 
shadowed roads winding through them. Even Matthew Arnold, who 
spent two summers in Stockbridge in the late i88o's but who was not 
given to excessive admiration of things American, condescended to 
praise our wild flowers and to speak highly of the "noble" prospect 
from the spot where now stands the studio of the late Daniel Chestei 
French, in Glendale. This is another vista which is closed by the Dome 
of the Taconics (Mount Everett), for all its lack of great elevation one 
of the most esthetically satisfying mountains in New England. So the 
English appreciated us if Hawthorne didn't. Not that it greatly mat- 
tered to us. We had admired the Dome years before Arnold ever gave 
it his approval. Thoreau had climbed Greylock. Henry Ward Beecher 
had made his summer home with us and added his appreciative essays 
to our store of place literature. Holmes had lived among us and cele- 
brated our cattle shows in verse. We had begun to absorb the fashion- 
able and wealthy without losing our local prides, and with their aid 

Introduction xiii 

were fighting the good fight to keep our villages as neat and as tree- 
shaded and as quietly dignified as our landscape. 

The first village improvement society in America was founded in 
Stockbridge — and still flourishes there. In the nineties Stockbridge was 
one town which did not yield to the trolley craze, but put the tracks 
down below the beautiful main street, out of sight. A litde later, it put 
all its telephone and electric Ught wires under ground. And I think 
I am right in saying that there is not a billboard within the town 
limits. At any rate, the number is so small that it is negligible. All this 
wasn't accomplished by legislation but by public sentiment, by local 
pride, by what we like to think is the Berkshire spirit. It is not, of 
course, operative lOO per cent in our entire county, but we are con- 
stantly striving to make it so. 

Our hills are not high, and with the exception of Greylock (the 
highest) and the Dome, they seldom make pronounced individual 
summits. They are long horizontals rising on the east to an extensive 
upland plateau which is still for the most part sparsely populated, cov- 
ered with second-growth forest, and criss<rossed with old roads which 
invite exploration. These hills are well watered, and our mountain 
brooks are constantly breaking into waterfalls of unexpected charm — 
unexpected because the casual tourist may sometimes pass within a few 
hundred yards of them on the highway and never guess their existence. 
They tumble down through forests of yellow birch and maple and 
hemlock, over rocks dripping green with moss and maidenhair, or 
overhung with laurel and hobblebush. They are true wilderness gar- 
dens. We have orchid gardens in our swamps — to the positions of 
which I pray this guide book gives no clue! We have what we call 
cobbles, an old English term signifying an extensive outcropping of 
rock, in our case limestone. On these cobbles grow exquisite fern gar- 
dens of ebony and maidenhair spleenwort, of walking fern and purple 
cliff brake. We have miles of mountain and forest trails. In short, we 
in the Berkshires have quick escape from urbanity into comparative 

The wild and the cultivated are close companions in our country, 
and we are happy in the companionship. One of the prize gardens in 
Lenox is based around a giant boulder at the edge of woods, the crev- 
ices of the stone still verdant with forest ferns, and the view from the 
house terrace is not of formal flowerbeds, but of a distant mountain. 

xiv Introduction 

Almost every estate, in fact, strives to incorporate its particular view 
into the garden scheme, to make the enfolding Berkshire Hills forever 
a part of the domestic life pattern. That is what we think of our 

And that is what we hope you will come to think of it if you visit 
the Berkshires. If that isn't what you are looking for, and you are 
insensible to the subder differences of landscape appeal and ways of 
living, I'm not sure we want you at all. However, if you have pur- 
chased and perused a carefully prepared guide book, you surely are 
sensible to what makes one way of life, one portion even of New Eng- 
land different from another; or are curious to discover. You, we do 
want. We want you to see the Berkshires. We want you to stay long 
enough to explore and understand them. And if you do, we are pretty 
certain you will love them. 

Walter Prichard Eaton 

Twin Fires 
June, ig^g 


Chapter I 

FLORIDA — Mass 2, sett. 1783, alt. 2180, pop. 405. 

CLARKSBURG — Mass 8, sett. 1769, alt. 1000, pop. 1333. 

NORTH ADAMS— Mass 2 and 8, sett. 1768, alt. 800, pop. 22,085. 

Roads — Florida is on Mass 2, 1^0 miles from Boston (Mohawl^ Trail), 180 
miles from New Yorli City (US 7 through Pittsfield and Norwal\, Con- 
necticut, then US i), 50 miles from Troy, New Yor\. (Mass 2 and NY 
g6) and jo miles from Greenfield (Mass 2); North Adams is on the same 
route; Clar\sburg is on Mass 8, through North Adams. 

On February 9, 1875, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, a steam engine 
covered with bunting hurled its first black puff of smoke into the 
Valley of the Hoosic. Out of Hoosac Tunnel, the second long- 
est in the world at the time, had come three platform cars and a 
freight bearing 125 merrymakers whose excitement not even the 
thirty-four-minute trip through the smoke-filled "hole in the wall" 
could choke. This was the first official run from FLORIDA, in the 
Deerfield Valley, through the depths of Hoosac Mountain into the 
Valley of the Hoosic to North Adams. It had cost twenty-four years 
of labor, fifteen million dollars, and 195 lives to build a cavern four 
and three-quarters miles long. 

A direct means of transportation from eastern Massachusetts to 
North Adams and the New York State line was first proposed in 
1825. There was a wild idea about running a canal through the moun- 
tain. In 1828, a State Commission reported a railroad more feasible 
than a canal. Nothing was done, however, until '48, when the Troy 
and Greenfield Railroad Company was chartered to begin construction 
of a road from Greenfield to North Adams. Upon actually starting 
work three years later, Laommi Baldwin, the engineer who had made 
the first survey of the route, exclaimed with enthusiasm: 

"It seems as if the finger of Providence had marked out this route 
from the east to the west." 

The Berkshire Hills 

"Tcx) bad the same finger wasn't put through Hoosac Mountain," 
was a cynic's reply. 

The cynic knew what he was talking about. For twenty-four years 
anen dug and bored and drilled a passage through the depths of the 
range. Work was several times abandoned, only to be resumed when 
enough money was collected. For the first fourteen years, they worked 
with pickaxes, hand drills, and black blasting powder, for air drills 
and blasting dynamite had not been perfected. The black powder 
made a great racket and smoke, but dislodged only small fragments 
of rock. Hand drilling was slow and tedious. While one man held the 
drill and turned it, another whaled away with a sledge. Sometimes 
the hammer missed its mark, but there were always plenty of work- 
men eager for the "soft job" of holding the drill. Year after year they 
labored to the guttural humming of the driller's song made famous 
during the construction of the Union Pacific. 

Drill, ye Tarriers, drill. 

And its work all day, 

Without sugar in your tay, 

When you're working for the U.P. Railway. 

All over the country doubting Thomases declared the tunnel would 
never be finished. Critics by the carload rose to denounce the work 
as a stupid and expensive folly. Among the rich, respectable, and 
powerful opponents was Francis Bird, Boston landowner and politi- 
cian, whose pamphlet of 1868, The Last Agony of the Great Bore, 
accused Berkshire politicians of having "tunnel on the brain." Oliver 
Wendell Holmes observed that the millennium and the completion of 
the Hoosac Tunnel probably would occur simultaneously. 

While public sentiment was sharply divided, a strong and reasoned 
plea for continuation was put forth in Scribner's Magazine by J. G. 
Holland, Berkshire historian. 

The commercial intercourse of New England with the West has been 
gready obstructed by this mountain barrier. . . . The people of New Eng- 
land did not, however, sit down behind their mountain wall and suck 
their thumbs. Close business relations with the great West were essential 
to their prosperity, and they determined to establish and maintain them. 
... If the mountain would not give way to Mahomet, Mahomet must go 
through the mountain. That is how the Hoosac Tunnel came to be built. 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 

It is a clear announcement that New England does not intend to be left 
out in the cold. 

Despite criticism and ridicule, the work went grimly on. At the 
very outset, a huge boring machine was erected near the eastern end 
of the proposed tunnel and great hopes were entertained for its 
ability to bore through the mountain. For ten feet it cut one smooth, 
half-moon-shaped hole — and stopped forever. Another machine was 
tried out at the western portal, but it didn't budge an inch. It took 
four years and half a million dollars to sink a central shaft 1,028 feet 
from the summit of the mountain into the maw of the earth. From 
this shaft men could cut their way to meet others working from both 
ends. Another shaft, 318 feet deep, was sunk on the North Adams side 
of the mountain. 

Scenes around the shafts while work was going on were reminiscent 
of mining towns or camps in the far West. There were rows of small 
cabins, and cheap boardinghouses where the tunnel workers slept 
and ate. A mixture they were of many races and creeds, Irish and 
English, French-Canadians, Italians. Children poured in and out of 
the squalid houses where women, speaking foreign tongues, were 
busy with cooking and babies. Roughly dressed men, black with 
grime, went in and out of the diggings. 

Report of death underground always brought a crowd of work- 
men's wives from Florida's shanty town to the pit head. After a while 
they got so used to disaster that there was no frenzy. When a limp 
body in earth-stained overalls and torn black shirt was carried out 
into the sunlight, a sobbing woman hid the eyes of her small boy in 
her skirt. The crowd melted away, other wives relieved that for one 
more day tragedy had passed them by. But in 1867 when fire broke 
out in the powerhouse of the central shaft and thirteen miners were 
trapped underground, the usual stoicism gave way to hysteria. In a 
bedlam of shrieks, curses, shrill whistles, a group of volunteers 
scrambled into the elevator car to descend the shaft and attempt a 
rescue. Above the tumult was heard the piercing cry of a child. "Pa! 
Ma says not to go down in the litde house. You kill yourself!" Before 
the "little house" could even begin its perilous descent there was a 
muffled explosion underground. A burst of flame and a shower of 
rocks, bits of cloth and fragments of charred flesh. 

The Berkjhire Hills 

While human moles burrowed their slow way into the mountain's 
heart, men of science worked in laboratories to perfect new equipment. 
Under the most favorable conditions, sixty feet a month was the best 
that could be done with hand drill and gunpowder. In 1865, after 
foreign-made drills had proved impracticable, an American air drill 
was introduced and used with success. In the same year. Professor 
George M. Mowbray tried out a new explosive called nitroglycerin, 
to replace the ineffectual black powder. Arthur Nobel had adapted 
nitroglycerin for ordinary excavation, but it was hair-trigger stuff. 
There was no known way to carry the "soup," as it was called, from 
place to place without danger of an explosion. It was said to be so 
sensitive that the scraping of a fiddle was enough to set it off. People 
thought it would blow up immediately if allowed to freeze. It took 
"Hell," so the story goes, to solve Professor Mowbray's problem. 

Helton Swazey was the professor's assistant. When "Hell" was 
sober he was a mild young man, but when he got drunk, as often 
happened, he was a demon. One night, as he was helping the pro- 
fessor to close up shop, a hurry call came through from the east portal 
at Florida for some nitroglycerin. Swazey was taking his girl to a 
dance over that way, and he agreed to deliver the quart cans of 

"You'd best not tell the young lady about it! She mightn't like it," 
the professor warned. "Not that there's any danger. We'll wrap the 
stuff in flannel and blankets, with a hot water botde to keep it from 

The night was bitter cold, and on the way Swazey often found it 
necessary to fortify himself from his liquor jug. Then the girl began 
to complain that she was freezing. When he obligingly pulled up the 
horse and fetched blankets and a hot water bottle, the girl thought 
him remarkably considerate. She was unaware that in the back of 
the sleigh there rode cans of nitroglycerin, uncovered now in the 
zero air. 

At the hall, the party was in full swing. "Hell" and his girl hurried 
to join the dancers. Meanwhile the sleigh stood outside, the horse 
shivering under blankets. Before long Swazey began to feel his liquor 
and became so boisterous that the crowd pitched him out into a snow- 
drift to cool off. It was then that he remembered the packages in 
the sleigh. With an armful of cans he returned to the hall and faced 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 

his tormentors. Tunnel workers all, they knew nitroglycerin when 
they saw it. There was a stampede. As the door slammed on the last 
of the fleeing crowd, "Hell" broke loose! Crash! One of the cans hit 
the dance hall door. Another bounced off the red-hot stove. Chattering 
with rage, "Hell" hurled the nitroglycerin at various targets. At last 
his ammunition was exhausted, and he planked himself down beside 
the stove to sleep. 

The word spread that Helton Swazey, dead drunk, was sound 
asleep among cans of frozen nitroglycerin which hadn't yet blown 
him up. At daylight Professor Mowbray appeared in the doorway. 
All around were evidences of the barrage. The professor was de- 
lighted. Obviously, the way to transport nitroglycerin was to freeze 
it. What could he do to show "Hell" his appreciation? Ah, yes, of 
course. He could buy him a drink! 

With the new improvements, the digging on the Tunnel was 
speeded up. On Thanksgiving Day, 1873, twenty-two years after 
work was begun, the final blast broke away the last barrier of rock 
separating the Hoosac from the Deerfield Valley. The two gangs of 
workmen, forging toward each other from the east and the west, 
met so exactly that the error was only five-sixteenths of an inch. 
Freight trains went through the Tunnel as early as February, 1875; 
passenger trains not until the next fall. 

Today the Tunnel operated by the Boston and Maine Railroad is 
equipped with double tracks, and electric locomotives are attached 
to the steam engines to draw trains through with a minimum of gas 
and smoke. For forty years after the Tunnel was completed, steam 
locomotives filled the cavern with smoke and cinders. Passengers who 
entered one end of the Tunnel looking like fashion models came out 
the other, gasping and choking, as black as southern field hands. In 
191 1 the Tunnel was electrified, and now modern air-conditioned cars 
keep their passengers immaculate. 

Florida, a boom town when the Tunnel was being built, aspired 
to become a city when it was completed. In 1805, when the town 
was incorporated, there was talk of the United States purchasing 
the territory of Florida from Spain. The new village among the 
mountains chose the name of the flat, tropical region of palms and 
pelicans. Perhaps an overdeveloped sense of humor on the part of 
the town fathers contributed to the extraordinary choice. When the 

The B€r\shire Hills 

Tunnel was completed, most of Florida's prosperity and population 
drained out into the city of North Adams and the world beyond. 
Today the town has about 400 inhabitants, not half the number 
of workmen once employed on the "hole in the wall." 

One day when the Tunnel was nearly finished, a newspaperman 
questioned an Irish workman: 

"Do you think the Tunnel will be a financial success, Pat?" 

"No, begorra, I don't that," replied Pat, "but 'twill be an orna- 
ment to society." 

Pat was wrong. The ornament to society is the MOHAWK 
TRAIL, Mass 2, which winds over Hoosac Mountain on its way from 
Greenfield to North Adams. Completed in 1914 by the Massachusetts 
Highway Commission, the Mohawk Trail touches and crosses the 
old Trail blazed by the Indians. From earliest times, this path across 
the mountains was the natural route of travel from the Hudson 
Valley to the east. Bands of Indians on hunting and war expeditions 
went over it on their way into the Connecticut Valley. During the 
French and Indian Wars, the Canadian Mohawks filed along this 
path to prey on the scattered frontier villages of the English. It is 
for these warriors, rather than the Mohawks of New York, that the 
modern highway is named. Later, white men began to use the old 
Indian path: couriers sent by the Dutch from the Hudson Valley to 
warn the English settlers of imminent Indian attack, soldiers bound 
for Fort Massachusetts, hunters and scouts moving silendy through 
the forest. 

The soldiers and early setders came on horseback, cutting their 
way through the wilderness. Gradually the trail was widened into a 
bridle path. White setders brought ox carts and the path was again 
widened into the semblance of a road. No one knows when the first 
of these rude highways over the Hoosac Range was built, but in 1764 
Samuel Rice of Charlemont petitioned the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts for a grant of land near the Deerfield River. In return, he 
promised to build a road over Hoosac Mountain — "the present one 
being dangerous, several creatures lost their lives thereon." In 1797, 
the State of Massachusetts ordered a new road built over the moun- 
tain, to be called the Second Massachusetts Turnpike. It extended 
from the western boundary of Charlemont, in Franklin County, to 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 

the western foot of the Hoosac Mountain in Adams, now North 

The zigzagging course of Rice's road, which was surveyed for a 
county road in 1794, was possibly the same highway known as the 
Shunpike, because it was used by travelers who wished to dodge the 
toll on the Massachusetts Turnpike. During stagecoach days, the road 
over the mountain was the scene of many a holdup. Morris Carpenter, 
who drove the stage for years around the middle of the nineteenth 
century, often told of being held up by robbers, who "believed that 
there was a clear ten thousand in booty or ransom inside the stage." 
When they found only a few empty bottles, the bandits broke them 
over the passengers' heads in disgust and "bade them God-speed and 
a good doctor." 

As late as 1848 the Indian Trail was still open and Williams College 
boys used to run up and down ahead of the lumbering coach. At the 
foot of the Trail was a sign reading, "Walk up, if you please." An- 
other, at the summit, ominously challenged, "Ride down, if you dare." 
In 1893 the Indian Trail could still be traced, and even today there 
are short stretches hidden in the woods which are discernible, but 
most of it has been entirely obliterated. Where the county and state 
roads have not covered it, nature has. The modern Mohawk Trail 
touches the original Indian Trail at only two places, on Main Street 
in North Adams and at Western Summit, the western peak of the 
Hoosac range. 

There have been many famous journeys over the trail. Perhaps 
the most picturesque was made by a band of Minutemen from 
Charlemont, who on the morning of the Battle of Bennington, August 
16, 1777, started out to reinforce the patriot army, then fighting 
General Baum. The party traveled by "riding and tying," a custom 
followed by many New England pioneers when horses were so 
scarce their services had to be shared by two or more persons. One 
man would ride a horse to a certain spot and tie it. His companion, 
starting out on foot, would take the horse when he reached it. Mean- 
while, the first rider, having dismounted, would take his turn on 
foot knowing that he would find the horse awaiting him up the road. 
Thus each man walked and each man rode; the horse had his rest 
and did his work. 

The journey of the Charlemont Minutemen across the lofty rugged 

8 The Berkshire Hills 

range, down into the Hoosac Valley, through Williamstown and on 
to Bennington, in less than a single day was quite a feat, for they 
had to "ride and tie" over a distance of forty miles. Yet at the end 
of the journey, they still had strength enough to chase the Hessians. 
In 1850, many years after the Minutemen had raced over the moun- 
tain, Nathaniel Hawthorne rode from North Adams to Shelburne 
Falls. In the American Note-Boof^s, he has recorded his impression of 
the mountain: 

The top of this Green [Hoosic] Mountain is along ridge, marked on the 
county njap as two thousand one hundred and sixty feet above the sea; on 
this summit is a valley, not very deep, but one or two miles wide . . . The 
scenery on the eastern side of the Green Mountain is incomparably more 
striking than on the western, where the long swells and ridges have a flat- 
ness of effect; and even Greylock heaves itself so gradually that it does 
not much strike the beholder. But on the eastern part, peaks one or two 
thousand feet high rush up on either bank of the river, in ranges, thrusting 
out their shoulders side by side. They are almost precipitous, clothed in 
woods, through which the naked rock pushes itself forth to view. Some- 
times the peak is bald, while the forest wraps the body of the hills, and 
the baldness gives it an indescribably stern effect. Sometimes the preci- 
pice rises with abruptness from the immediate side of the river; sometimes 
there is a cultivated valley on either side — ^with all the smoothness . . . 
of a farm near cities — ^this gende picture strongly set off by the wild 
mountain frame ... I have never driven through such romantic scenery, 
where there was such a variety and boldness of mountain shapes as this 
. . . movmtains diversified the view with sunshine and shadow, and glory 
and gloom. . . . 

Now lines of motorists speed up and down the mountainside and 
around the curves at all times of the year. The Trail is passable even 
in winter, although freak New England bHzzards sometimes inter- 
fere for short periods. 

The floods of September, 1938, tore with such fury at the eastern 
-side of the mountain that the Trail was blocked between Florida 
and Charlemont and had to be closed through the winter of '38-'39. 
The heavy precipitation of rain caused six or seven new landslides 
on the Hoosacs, some of them plainly to be seen below Whitcomb 
Summit — long, bold scars on the steep mountainsides fifty to a hun- 
dred feet wide and half a mile long. Earth, rocks, trees, and all surface 
material thundered down into the Deerfield Valley. 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 

The Tunnel, the Trail, and the Turnip are Florida's chief con- 
tributions to the world. The Florida turnip is a hardy vegetable, which 
accounts for its being the chief agricultural product of the region 
today. Although in the mid-nineteenth century Florida raised a diver- 
sity of crops, there has been a steady decline in farming during the 
past thirty years. State Reservations have absorbed much of the best 
farm land — almost nine thousand of Florida's fifteen thousand acres 
captured by the forest. In 1937 there were only thirty-five farms left 
in the town. 

Dr. Daniel Nelson, an early settler of Florida, arrived from Staf- 
ford, Connecticut, toward 1800, and established himself in the south- 
eastern section. The land drew others from Connecticut, the Connecti- 
cut Valley, and eastern Massachusetts. In addition to tending the ills of 
the community. Dr. Nelson later tended the toll-gate on the Massachu- 
setts Turnpike. His successor as toll-keeper around this period was a 
Mrs. Nelson, though tradition does not say whether she was related to 
the doctor. The famous story of her kidnaping is recounted without 
passion in Beers' History of Berkshire County: 

A Colonel White, a great landholder, once owned the road over the 
Deerfield River near the Hoosac Tunnel. Here he had a toll bridge, and a 
most efl&cient employee in a Mrs. Nelson, who had a sharp eye for busi- 
ness. One very rainy night, just as the old lady was about to retire, a 
young blade came rattling along in a chaise, and rushing out shoeless and 
bareheaded, she stood on a board by the side of the gate to receive the 
customary fee. Reaching down his brawny arm, the young Jehu, instead of 
dropping his pence into her open palm, adroitly lifted the astonished 
dame into the vehicle, and in spite of her expostulations, carried her to 
the next tavern. Here he paid her lodging for the night, and gave her fifty 
cents to pay her stage fare home in the morning. 

Modern Florida consists of scattered farms along the mountains 
and two small centers of settlement. Upper Town on the Mohawk 
Trail has a white church visible for miles around, a town hall, and a 
few houses and roadside stands. Lower Town, at the foot of Hoosac 
Mountain near the Tunnel, was once East Portal Camp. Today it 
is called Hoosac Tunnel. The descent to Lower Town from the 
Mohawk Trail is one of the best trips in Berkshire. On the Trail from 
Charlemont, up past the Drury garage, a dirt road turns east into 

10 The Berkshire Hills 

the Deerfield Valley, and curves downward in a long spiral descent 
through thick woods and by swift little waterfalls. 

The natural division of the town into separate sections has been 
the cause of an outstanding feud that has fed Berkshire gossip for 
more than a decade. When the land level of a town is fairly con- 
sistent, it doesn't much matter where the town hall is located. But 
when half of the town lies on a mountaintop two thousand feet in the 
air, and the other half at the mountain's foot, location is everything, 
especially in winter. That's what Florida people will tell you when 
they mention the "Feud." 

The two factions in Florida are the farming Mountaineers, who 
live on the summit, and the Tunnelites in Lower Town, most of 
them railroad and power plant employees. Before 1900, town meetings 
were held in an old building high up on the mountain, easily acces- 
sible to the Mountaineers. Early in the new century, the State of 
Massachusetts offered to give the town a piece of land near the Tunnel 
entrance at the foot of the mountain. Florida accepted the gift with 
alacrity and erected a combination schoolhouse and town hall. This 
meant that the Mountaineers would have to travel six miles over 
rutty mountain roads in order to cast their ballots. Until 1920 the 
Mountaineers held the balance of power, and it did not much matter 
if a few of them forgot to show up on election day. With the passage 
of the Nineteenth Amendment, however, the majority went to the 
Tunnelites and their ladies. Their majority gone, the Mountaineers 
determined somehow to maintain the upper hand. A single vote 
might decide an issue. Before the next election day, men tramped 
miles around the snowy mountain tops coaxing neighbors to be on 
hand to vote. 

One zero day in 1922, the band of Mountaineers braved a snow 
and sleet storm to creep down the slippery mountain road into the 
valley, only to find the Town Hall locked. A mistake in date or some 
such explanation was offered by the Tunnelites. The Mountaineers 
held an indignation meeting in the general store, and then started 
the slow, painful crawl up the frozen mountain road. Anger kept 
them warmer on the return journey. By the time the mountaintop 
was reached, the "Feud" was full-grown. 

The Mountaineers began a fight for their "legal rights" at once. 
They demanded a new town hall on the summit. Several town meet- 

Industry Penetrates the Hills ii 

ings were held, without any decision being reached. Finally a loyal 
Mountaineer donated a tract of land for the new building, and the 
young people of the mountaintop raised enough money by dances 
and parties to erect the building. Not that the young Mountaineers 
were especially civic-minded. They admitted they wanted a place to 

This did not end the feud by any means. In 1923 the Tunnelites 
ignored the town meeting in the new mountain building and held 
their own at Hoosac Tunnel. Matters became so tangled that the law 
had to step in. The case was taken to the Superior Court, where the 
meeting held by the Mountaineers was declared illegal. Finally the 
General Court of Massachusetts officially ruled out both meetings, and 
set the first Monday in February, 1924, for a new assembly to be 
held in the Mountain Town Hall. The meeting lasted two days and 
was more like a street fight than anything else. Mountaineers and 
Tunnelites slapped and kicked and bit each other with gusto. When 
a recess was called, the Tunnelites refused to eat the baked bean 
luncheon prepared by the Mountain women. The Mountaineers took 
charge the first day, electing their own officers and passing their own 
measures. The second day they refused to have any part in the pro- 
ceedings. Some of them remained at home, because they were indif- 
ferent or because they were suffering from too many bruises. There- 
upon the Tunnelites had a Roman holiday. They rescinded all the 
votes of the previous day and passed an article that the town would 
pay the $2,500 bill for all the litigation which had been going on. 

As a climax the State had to intervene once more. Financial mat- 
ters were straightened out and Florida residents began to see the 
situation in its real light. The Feud still sputters occasionally, but 
there is little fire in it. Both town halls are recognized. Elections 
are now held at the one on the mountain, and the business meeting, 
at which articles in the town warrant are read, is held the following 
day at the schoolhouse in the valley. At the 1938 election, everything 
was harmonious. 

Although a large part of Florida's area is covered by State Forests, 
only MOHAWK TRAIL STATE FOREST in the eastern section 
has been developed for recreation. MOHAWK PARK borders the 
Mohawk Trail before it climbs out of Charlemont on a long ascent to 

12 The Berkshire Hills 

the top of Hoosac Mountain. The Park is well equipped with facilities 
for picnicking, has a ski tow and a Sky Trail. 

In the Park there is a STATUE OF A MOHAWK INDIAN 
erected by the Society of Red Men of America as a tribute to the 
tribe. The figure stands with arms upraised in salutation to the 
rising sun. Below the Indian is a WISHING-WELL, also erected 
by the Red Men, where you may wish your cares away in icy, refresh- 
ing water. 

At the point where Mass 2 crosses the Cold River Bridge, a dirt 
road turns left, if you are ascending the Trail, for a side trip into 
SAVOY STATE FOREST, a tract shared by the towns of Savoy, 
Florida, North Adams, and Adams. The forest, whose only recrea- 
tional section in Florida is NORTH POND, has an area of over ten 
thousand acres, including a game preserve and the lovely cascade of 
TANNERY FALLS, both in Savoy. 

A mere corner of the MONROE STATE FOREST occupies the 
extreme northeastern tip of the town of Florida. Visitors to the RAY- 
CROFT LOOKOUT, an observation platform built by the CiviUan 
Conservation Corps on the barren edge of a mountain, declare the 
view of the Deerfield River, 1000 feet below, is unsurpassed in eastern 
Berkshire. To the south appears a beautiful, high waterfall leaping 
from a ledge of white rock in a deep ravine between hills where 
SMITH BROOK pours down through the woods. On Fife Brook, 
further south, not visible from the Lookout, is a cascade known as 
TWIN FALLS, not more than fifteen minutes' walk up-stream from 
Hoosac Tunnel Station. 

Through one end of the State Forest, a six-strand high-tension 
power line carries 650,000 volts of electricity over the mountains from 
the Deerfield River power stations to the Hoosac Valley commu- 
nities. Once these wires, burdened with ice and sleet, were cleared 
by an engineer at one of the power plants through the use of a unique 
and previously untried method. The circuit at the receiving end on 
a set of three wires was closed and extra voltage and amperage "shot" 
into the wires until they reached a temperature of about 40 degrees 
Fahrenheit, which melted the frozen sleet and ice. Then the other 
set of wires was similarly treated. The success of the operation led 
to its general use wherever power lines are exposed to low tempera- 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 13 

About a mile and a half past the village of Florida, on Mass 2, rises 
WHITCOMB SUMMIT, 2,110 feet high. Its sixty-five-foot observa- 
tion tower overlooks four states: to the east, Mt. Monadnock in New 
Hampshire; north, the Green Mountains of Vermont; west and south, 
Mt. Greylock and the Berkshires, and on clear days, the mountains 
of New York State. 

When Hawthorne visited the "homely tavern kept by P. Witt" 
on Whitcomb Summit, he was entertained by an itinerant showman 
bearing a dilapidated diorama, typical of Berkshire amusements a 
hundred years ago. 

"We left our horse in the shed," he writes; "entering a litde unpainted 
bar-room, we heard a voice in a strange, outlandish accent, exclaiming 
Diorama. It was an old man, with a full, gray-bearded countenance, and 
Mr. Leach exclaimed, 'Ah, here's the old Dutchman' — though, by the way, 
he is a German and travels the country with this diorama in a wagon . . . 
We looked through the glass orifice of his machine, while he exhibited a 
succession of the worst scratches and daubings that can be imagined. 
There were views of cities and edifices in Europe, and Napoleon's battles 
and Nelson's sea-fights, in the midst of which would be seen a gigantic, 
brown hairy hand (the Hand of Destiny) pointing at the principal points 
of the conflicts . . ." 

Of a number of well-stocked ponds and streams in Florida, DEER- 
FIELD RIVER is the best known. Since the Deerfield River rises 
and ebbs whenever its gates are opened and shut, anglers find it a 
hard stream to wade. 

Thousands of people drive over the Mohawk Trail through Florida 
every year, thousands more catch a glimpse of the settlement of Hoosac 
Tunnel before their trains disappear in the mountain, but few of 
these travelers know the name of the town through which they are 
passing. The future may change this. Outsiders have discovered the 
State Forests, the picnic groves and the trout streams, and skiers have 
found that the snow on the Florida heights comes earlier and stays 
longer -than on most Berkshire slopes. A new army may invade 
Florida, bent on pleasure rather than on a "job" as were their prede- 
cessors, the Tunnel workers. For the present the town depends on 
the Tunnel, the Trail, and the Turnip. 

The Mohawk Trail, on its descent from Florida to North Adams, 
makes a wide reverse curve known as HAIRPIN TURN, really part 

14 The Berkshire Hills 

of the little town of Clarksburg, which stretches out a finger of land 
at just the right angle to claim its share of the famous highway. From 
the wooden OBSERVATION TOWER, at the head of the hairpin, 
there is a magnificent view overlooking the township of Clarksburg 
and a panorama of North Adams, northern Berkshire, and southern 
Vermont, with Greylock and the Taconics forming the western sky- 
line. Nathaniel Hawthorne looked down on the village in 1838 and 
noted, "The rush of the stream comes up the hill somewhat like the 
sound of a city." They were prophetic words. 

The Mohawk Trail dips sharply along the wooded mountainside 
as it passes into the crowded textile section of North Adams. Three 
miles from Hairpin Turn, in the outskirts of North Adams, Mass 2 
meets Mass 8, the road between mountains through Clarksburg to 
Vermont. In this vicinity Hawthorne visited a kiln that inspired his 
story Ethan Brand, the tale of a lime-burner obsessed by an "unpar- 
donable sin" only to be atoned for by casting himself into the burning 
lime. The lime quarry, long since abandoned, would be difficult to 
locate today without much scrambling among ledges and cliffs. 

About three-tenths of a mile north on Mass 8, a narrow road leads 
left across Hudson Brook and up along the bank of the stream to a 
marble quarry and miU. Behind the mill and high above an excavation 
made into the white rock, is the NATURAL BRIDGE, one of two 
such bridges of stone in the East. To reach it, walk through the quarry 
and ascend a long flight of steps at the side. The sight of the curi- 
ously narrow, deep gorge and the strange shapes engraved in the 
rock from top to bottom makes it worth running the gauntlet of 
dynamiters and jack-hammer operators (who are careful to warn 
visitors when a blast is to be blown) in order to explore the bridge 
formed by water cutting through the roof of a subterranean cave. 

Early legend has it that Seth Hudson of Fort Massachusetts found 
the caves and the bridge when he narrowly escaped a plunge into 
the gorge as he went hot-foot after a deer. He explored the caverns 
and saw the mighty arch of marble high above his head. Man of 
action that he was, he left no record, but after a visit to the bridge 
the dependable Nathaniel Hawthorne observed: 

The fissure is very irregular, so as not to be describable in words and 
scarcely to be painted — ^jutting buttresses, moss-grown, impending crags, 
with tali trees growing on their verge, nodding over the head of the 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 15 

observer at the bottom of the chasm, and rooted, as it were, in air . . . 
The marble crags are overspread with a concretion which makes them 
look as gray as granite, except where the continual flow of water keeps 
them of a snowy whiteness. 

Over 150 years ago, there were remnants of a beaver dam just 
below the gorge of the Natural Bridge. A locality near here was once 
known as BEAVER or "The Beaver" and later as "Beaver Mills," 
and even now Beaver Street carries Mass 8 into Clarksburg. The 
constant toil of the little animals, together with the flood-wood which 
accumulated against their growing barrier, raised a dam of such great 
height that the water flowed back and obliterated the falls. There 
are plain evidences that it must at some period have washed the 
whole surface and worn the stone away into fissures, chasms, and 
basins. Geologists insist that water alone worked the miracle. The 
thriving settlement of "Beaver," snugly ensconced between the hills, 
was in its original state a wild, sequestered locality, scarcely approach- 
able on foot by either fisherman or hunter. 

To enter the town of CLARKSBURG proper, continue north 
along Mass 8. One of the smallest towns in Berkshire, Clarksburg is 
one of the few where population has grown during the past century. 
The increase is largely due to the presence of the STRONG-HEW AT 
COMPANY, whose "Virgin Wool" plant employs over four hundred 
men. More than a century ago, four mills were operating in the town, 
all of them located along the northern branch of the Hoosic River 
in BRIGGSVILLE. Three of the mills liquidated, leaving the Briggs 
Woolen Mill the only survivor. In 1898, this plant was purchased by 
the Strong-Hewat Company, new machinery was installed, and the 
mills enlarged. 

Briggsville and Red Mill are two small centers along the high- 
way. Crowded between the river and the steep hillsides is a single 
main street of well-kept mill tenements. Neatly curtained windows 
brighten the appearance of the freshly painted houses, and the new- 
mowed lawns before them are colorful with well-tended gardens. 
R. A. J. Hewat, who came from Scotland seeking his fortune, pre- 
ferred to recruit his employees from his birthplace, and today twenty 
per cent of the population are of Scottish descent. 

Clarksburg was settled in 1769 by Captain Matthew Ketchum from 
Long Island and Nicholas Clark and his brothers from Rhode Island. 

i6 The Berkshire Hills 

Thirty years later some of the petitioners for the incorporation of 
the town wanted it named "Hudson" in honor of Henry Hudson, 
a famous Vermont hunter who was supposed to have felled the first 
tree in the territory of the town. Hudson had come to Clarksburg 
two or three months before the Ketchums and the Clarks. But the 
Clarks were numerous and outvoted all others in favor of naming 
the town after themselves. 

Much of Clarksburg's territory was originally known as "Bullock's 
Grant." In surveying the land for his grant, Colonel William Bullock 
laid his northern line about a mile south of the northern Hne of the 
Massachusetts Colony. Doubtless he was afraid he might get over the 
border into the State of Vermont. This land, or "gore," has since 
become a part of the town. 

Early setders were Baptists, although it was not long before the 
Methodists outnumbered them. Congregationalists were few; in 1829 
there was but a single member of the sect within the village precincts. 
The first church, erected in 1783, was a log building with a bark 
roof, built on the state line in order that both Clarksburg and Stam- 
ford, Vermont, Baptists might share the same minister. The settlers 
farmed and cut lumber during the first fifty years of the town's ex- 
istence, sending great quantities of hemlock and spruce down river 
to Adams and Williamstown. In the mid-nineteenth century grist 
mills, sawmills, lime kilns, a woolen and a carding mill, and a num- 
ber of powder mills all used the valuable water power furnished by 
several large brooks flowing into the northern and southern branches 
of the Hoosic. 

Though the wild landscape of the town is as impressive as any for- 
est scene in New England, almost no one sees it, for less than half the 
area can be reached by road. The western side, fully one-third of 
the town's land, is covered by a State Forest, at present developed for 
its timber rather than for its scenic and recreational value. The eastern 
part of the town is on a steep slope rising more than a thousand 
feet above the valley. Between the two heights, in the southeast corner 
of the level valley, lies Briggsville. 

The small town has no church, no lawyer, and no physician. There 
is no summer or tourist trade, for the community has done nothing 
to make known its really fine resources. Local people feel that their 
fate lies with the mills of Briggsville; let future residents develop 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 17 

the wild lands of the township. Back among the hills and narrow 
valleys live descendants of the old Yankee stock, still making a fair 
living from the land. They find a ready market for their dairy and 
garden products in North Adams, but they have not yet peddled the 
beauty of their surroundings. 

Entering NORTH ADAMS proper, Mass 2 curves left by the 
St. Francis Catholic Church and parochial school. The low build- 
ings which crowd close by are reminiscent of the old French cities 
of Canada, where the ancestors of many North Adams families once 

Main Street is the business district of North Adams — ^mid-Vic- 
torian blocks, small drygoods stores, taverns, colorful fruit stands 
and markets, and ten-cent stores. French and Irish names appear on 
the windows of the office buildings, designating lawyers, doctors, 
beauty salons, real estate and insurance agencies. There is a constant 
hum of noise and a confusion of tongues: French-Canadian, Italian, 
nasal Yankee, and the upper New York twang characteristic of 
northern Berkshire. North Adams is nervous with the energy of 
twentieth-century America. No city of twenty-five thousand people in 
New England has a greater variety of retail establishments; merchants 
must stock goods for workers of different nationalities and notions, 
and for a large farming population whose lean pocketbooks force 
their owners to "close buying." 

North Adams was originally part of East Hoosuck township, 
laid out in 1762. Berkshire natives are used to the various ways of 
spelling Hoosic, and will explain without so much as the bat of an 
eyelash that the Hoosic River flows through the Hoosac Valley at 
the foot of the Hoosac Mountain Range through which the Hoosac 
Tunnel runs; but the Hoosic River becomes the Hoosick River when 
it flows into New York State where the town is called Hoosick Falls. 
The original towns in the area, predecessors of Adams, North Adams, 
and Williamstown, were called East and West Hoosick, East and 
West Hoosuck, and East and West Hoosac, apparently depending 
on the idiosyncrasies of eighteenth-century spelling. It is all very 
confusing to anyone who wishes to spell Hoosic, for to be certain 
one must know whether the reference is to a mountain, a river, or 
a town. The origin of the name is simpler; in the Indian language 
it means "a stony place." 

i8 The Berkshire Hills 

In 1778 East Hoosuck became the town of Adams. South Village, 
on the more fertile land, grew rapidly, but pioneers were slow in 
coming into the "north village" of Slab City. Though as early as 
1747, John Perry, a Fort Massachusetts soldier, had reared a little 
house in the northern wilderness, for years only a few people came 
to live there. Once the land was cleared, the abundant water power 
began gradually to attract settlers. 

In the "Slab City" days of North Adams the pine forest was so 
dense that the pioneers had to chop their way through to establish a 
settlement. For years huge trees stood along the streets of the town, 
one giant stump remaining in the middle of Main Street until 1858. 

In 1793 Joseph Darby set up a trip-hammer to pound out scythes 
and saws. Six years later, Dickinson and Brown erected a forge for 
making wrought iron from native ore, and by 1804 they were turn- 
ing out a grade good enough to sell at $140 a ton. Within half a 
century the small grist mills and forges were replaced by textile 
plants, brickyards, marble quarries, and metal-working shops. 

"There are several factories in different parts of North Adams, 
along the banks of a stream," wrote Hawthorne in his notebook, 
"a wild, highland rivulet ... It is strange to see such a rough and 
untamed stream as it looks to be so subdued to the purposes of 
man, and making cotton and woolens, sawing boards and marbles, 
and giving employment to so many men and girls. And there is a 
sort of picturesqueness in finding these factories, supremely artificial 
estabhshments, in the midst of such wild scenery. For now the stream 
will be flowing through a rude forest, with the trees erect and dark, 
as when the Indians fished there . . . And then, taking a turn in the 
road, behold these factories, and their range of boardinghouses, with 
the girls looking out of the windows." 

Long on water power. North Adams was short on capital. Laqk 
of transportation facilities retarded industrial growth, until citizens 
finally raised $31,000 to help finance a continuation of the Western 
Railroad. After the State had taken over and finished the job of bor- 
ing through from the Deerfield Valley into the Hoosac Valley, North 
Adams had the advantage of two railroad lines, and in 1875 the town 
began to boom. Besides water power, it now had direct contact with 
large retail centers. There was always plenty of pure spring water 
for various dyeing processes. Labor alone was lacking, though not 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 19 

for long. Released from railroad jobs, French-Canadian and Irish 
workmen swarmed into the town, bringing their relatives and friends. 
In 1878 North Adams was incorporated as a town separate from 
Adams, and was on its way to becoming a bustling industrial com- 

In his book, From the Hub to the Hudson, Washington Gladden 
has left a picture of North Adams as it appeared to him in 1866: 

North Adams was, indeed, a good sample of a New England democ- 
racy. All its traditions were of an uncompromising radicalism. If there 
were aristocratic elements in the population of many New England towns, 
Adams boasted none of these things. It was Sam Adams, and not John, 
whose name she borrowed when her organization was set up. There were 
no old families who claimed homage on the score of birth or breeding. 
There were a few men to whom the war brought large and rapid 
gains; the cotton and woolen mills and the print works were in the 
high tide of prosperity, and several of these wealthy manufacturers 
were building for themselves fine houses; but nothing had yet occurred 
to disturb the sense of equality which characterized all social relations. 
I have attended an evening party in one of those new fine houses at 
which were present not only capitalists and merchants and professional 
people, but working mechanics and clerks and operatives in the mill of 
which the host was the owner. That class consciousness which some of 
our industrial leaders have would have been wholly inconceivable to the 
people of this New England town forty years ago . . . 

Although textile finishing finally became the major industry, the 
city never has depended solely on one type of manufacturing. Shoes, 
textile machinery, electrical goods, rugs, brushes, boxes, bricks, bis- 
cuits, iron, brass, and aluminum castings are among the varied prod- 
ucts of North Adams. 

Worse than any economic slump that ever hit North Adams 
have been the furious floods which periodically visit the city in its 
narrow gulch. In 1785 the mills were ruined by the so-called Parker's 
Flood of which a contemporary said, "Noah's flood is the only one 
that ever equaled it." After the great deluge of 1869, an optimistic 
historian commented, "Now, it does not seem as if further danger 
need be expected, as the timber on the watershed has been so cut off 
that many springs and feeder brooks are now dried up and the river 
is much smaller than in olden times." Of course he spoke too soon, 

20 The Berkshire Hills 

for the very act of stripping the hills and valleys of their trees was 
to make "bigger and better floods" possible in the future. 

Within the past twelve years there have been three disasters, in 
'27, 't^6, and '38. The flood of 1938 began at 5 p.m. on September 21 
when a brook broke through a culvert on River Street and covered 
the thoroughfare. Within the next half hour other small streams 
broke out of their banks, and two branches of the Hoosic River tore 
loose, hurling tons of water through the center of North Adams. 
High winds felled poles and wires and plunged the city into dark- 
ness. By midnight one entire street had vanished as if it never had 
existed. Landslides rumbled down steep banks near the center of 
town, blocked roads, clogged storm sewers and drains, undermined 

The flood crest went eighteen inches higher than in 1927 on the 
South branch of the Hoosic River and was several inches higher than 
any previous mark on the North branch. North Adams was cut off 
by washouts on the highway at Cold River bridge in Savoy and at 
Green River bridge in Williamstown. The city, deprived of railroad 
communications, was without water, electricity, telephone and gas 
service, and the damage was estimated at more than a million dollars. 
Public clamor arose for a comprehensive program of flood control 
in the Hoosac Valley. 

In the past, when North Adams made up its mind, something 
was likely to be accomplished. It happened that way in 1894 when 
the General Court voted to establish a new normal school, and 
North Adams wanted it located there. The town went so far as 
to add $50,000 to the State appropriation, and got the school. The 
marble and yellow brick buildings of the TEACHERS COLLEGE 
lie on Church Street, which goes south out of the center. Church 
Street runs into Mass 8, which continues across the Hoosic River and 
the Pittsfield-North Adams branch of the Boston and Albany Rail- 
road, passing on the way MEADOWBROOK ARENA, the principal 
recreation establishment for dances, prize-fights, roller-skating, and 
other indoor amusements. 

You can return to the center by a new-cut straight road, the Curran 
Memorial Highway, which connects with Mass 8. A hillside marker 
near the start of the road tells of the old church once here. Near 
where the road runs past a steep hill, a trail climbs at an angle up into 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 21 

the pines to one of the two caves within the Umits of the city. It is 
known as RICHMOND CAVE after the family that originally owned 
a farm here. Within, a large chamber made of mixed sandstone, 
limestone, schist, and quartz has a floor of rubble; at one end a tiny 
waterfall splashes down a fallen rock. For some years the Ravenscrag 
cave, atop the jagged peak that shows directly beneath Greylock's 
summit, was believed to have a "bottomless pool," but recently ex- 
plorers, armed with flashlights, ropes, and plummets, have discovered 
that the water is exactly six inches deep. The small, winding difficult 
passages make the dark cavern a safe haven for bats. 

Some of the early setders who cut down the giant trees of "Slab 
City" were men of mighty frame and strength. Among them was 
Josiah Holbrook, the fearless, who captured single-handed a baker's 
dozen of Hessians at the Battle of Bennington. He surprised his 
captives while they were drinking at a spring, and reported his 
achievement to General Stark with simplicity; 

"Gin'rel, I jest surrounded them, sir." 

Josiah was one of those who joined Shays' forces during the 
Rebellion. After the defeat of the movement and his return home 
a party of four troopers tried in vain to arrest him. No one would 
have dared to tackle Josh single-handed. He was finally captured 
by a company surrounding his house in the night, breaking in the 
door, and seizing and binding him in bed. He submitted, gave up 
all his arms, took the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth, and 
was released. It was a standing joke among the inhabitants of North 
Adams that his whisper could be distinctly heard by everybody when 
he was out of doors; when he spoke his voice resounded to the top 
of Hoosac Mountain. 

A runaway boy, Allen Wilson, escaping from the cruelty of a 
hard-fisted farmer to whom he was bound out, drifted into North 
Adams in the late 1840's and began work as a cabinet-maker. He 
met Miss Brooks of Williamstown, an industrious seamstress whose 
swift needle flying back and forth as she worked gave him the idea 
for a sewing machine. In 1851, after numerous trials and failures, 
Wilson secured a patent on his machine with a small sum given 
him by a North Adams friend. Chher local capitalists considered 
Wilson an eccentric fellow on the verge of insanity. With sixty 
cents in his pocket and a model of his sewing machine in a cloth 

22 The Ber\shire Hills 

bag he left for Pittsfield. Here he again took up a trade, in spare 
time trying to interest someone in his machine. He failed, shook the 
dust of Pittsfield from his feet, and went to Bridgeport. There he 
met a man named Wheeler who mortgaged his property for nine 
hundred dollars and became a joint partner with Wilson. Together 
they started the manufacture of the Wheeler-Wilson sewing machine, 
whose shares soared until they paid higher dividends than any 
other stock in the United States. Wilson returned prosperous to 
North Adams, and in 1866 erected the Wilson House on Main Street, 
the most imposing hotel and business block of its day in Berkshire 
County. It was destroyed in a spectacular fire. 

The first Irishman to settle in North Adams in the 1850's was 
Michael Ryan, a genial, whole-souled emigrant. He is pictured in 
an account written in 190 1 as clad in corduroy trousers coming just 
below the knees, thick stockings, his vest cut low at the neck, and 
a jaunty hat on his head. One fair but cold day in October, Michael 
returned from a tramp into the hills with a rattlesnake wrapped in 
his handkerchief, and thrust in his vest to keep warm. "The pore 
little bird, it is cowld, it is," he exclaimed to a Yankee neighbor who 
encountered him. Michael had never seen a snake in St. Patrick's 

C. T. Sampson was not a "Berkshire Borner." He originally came 
from Stamford, Vermont, "a real old-fashioned white-birch Yankee." 
Arriving in North Adams around mid-century, he apprenticed him- 
self to a shoemaker, and by peddling footwear through the country- 
side managed to get together money enough to start a small factory 
of his own. When, in the late '6o's, workmen in his North Adams 
factory went on strike and joined a labor organization known as the 
"Knights of St. Crispin," Sampson sent an agent to California to 
buy up a trainload of Chinamen. The day the Chinese arrived in 
North Adams, an angry crowd was at the depot to meet them. So 
were Sampson and an armed constable. The strikers threatened vio- 
lence if the yellow-skinned "heathens" set foot on the ground, and 
the Chinese workmen were thoroughly frightened. Finally the crowd 
allowed them passage and they reached the factory unmolested. "These 
pig-tailed, calico-frocked, wooden-shod invaders made a spectacle 
which nobody wanted to miss even long enough to stoop for a 
brickbat," said Washington Gladden, a minister in North Adams. 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 23 

Sampson's factory loft was filled with wooden bunks for the 
Chinese, and native cooks provided food within the walls. Most of 
the Orientals stayed close to their work. They knew nothing of the 
shoe trade, even the simplest processes. To teach them took several 
months, during which factory output dropped way down. 

The Chinese later boarded with private families, joined local 
churches, and became an accepted part of the community. One of 
them, Sam Sing, who came as an interpreter, left the factory to open 
a grocery store. Lue Gim Gong became a notable horticulturist, 
moved to the South, and there worked so successfully developing 
new types of citrus fruits that his memory is honored throughout 
Florida. In the 1870's, machinery introduced into the shoe factories 
to carry out the process of bottoming shoes forced the Chinese out 
of their jobs. Many had already left North Adams, some returning 
to California, others, who had saved their money, going back to 
China. Of the hundred-odd who once lived in North Adams, not 
one is left today. 

The importation of the Chinese caused a furore in Massachusetts, 
and Wendell Phillips, in his article in the National Standard Maga- 
zine for August 1870, summed up general opinion. After stating that 
men of all races and nations should be welcomed on American soil, 
he continued: 

But such immigration to be safe and helpful must be spontaneous. 
It must be the result of individual will obeying the laws of industry, and 
the tendencies of the age. Immigration of labor is an unmixed good. 
Importation of human freight is an unmixed evil. 

That dollar now left after all the bills are paid on Saturday night, 
means education, independence, self-respect, manhood . . . The importation 
of Chinese labor seeks to take that dollar from our workingmen. 

North Adams has been fertile soil for a crop of inventors. Among 
those of greatest fame was the late Frank J. Sprague, who received 
his early education in North Adams. At the Philadelphia Electrical 
Exposition of 1884 the Sprague electric motors were exhibited for 
the first time, creating a sensation. The Sprague Electric Railway 
and Motor Company was organized and the electric lighting industry 
greatly stimulated. 

Mr. Sprague was awarded the gold medal at the Paris Exposition 

24 The Berkshire Hills 

in 1889 for electric railway development, the Elliot Cresson medal at 
Franklin Institute in 1904 for the multi-unit system, the grand prize 
for "invention and development in electric railways" at the St. Louis 
Exposition in 1904, the Edison gold medal for "meritorious achieve- 
ment in electric science, engineering and art" in 1910, and the 
Franklin medal in 1921 for "fundamental inventions and achieve- 
ments in electrical engineering." On his seventy-fifth birthday in 
1934 he was hailed as the "Father of Electric Traction." 

Opposite the Hunter Machine Company on Pearl Street in the 
rear of a brick block is the establishment of "Billy" Barber, inventor 
and single-handed manufacturer of his own "porcupine boiler." A 
Yankee, self-made and self-taught in his trade, William B. Barber 
remains an unusual type in the modern world. A tall, lanky, stoop- 
shouldered man nearing sixty, with an aquiline countenance, a pierc- 
ing eye and a ready flow of technical language concerning heating, 
power, electricity, hydraulics, and things mechanical, he is often 
called in conference by highly educated engineers, contractors, and 
industrialists to solve by his native genius some problem which has 
puzzled experts. 

Once when an electric motor generator stalled in a large plant in 
North Adams and could not be started by company engineers, the 
owner sent for Barber. Within ten minutes Billy had the motor run- 
ning and the mill could operate again. 

"Send me a bill," said the pleased owner in an off-hand way. 

Barber's bill sent the next day read as follows: 

One gadget $ .60 

Time 1 .25 

Brains 23.15 

Total $25.00 

As Mass 2 traverses more open country on the western outskirts 
of North Adams, a modern road, offically opened to motorists in the 
summer of 1937, though not entirely completed even yet (1939), turns 
off to the top of Mount Greylock. The opening of this route, ap- 
proached from North Adams by way of Mass 2, has shortened the 
distance from the city to the summit of the mountain by ten or twelve 
miles. The Notch Road turns south from Mass 2 to ascend the side 

Industry Penetrates the Hills 25 

of the mountain in gradual slope, following in part the course of the 
old stagecoach line. 

The NEW NOTCH ROAD, as it is called, was begun in 1932 
by the CiviUan Conservation Corps. Some of it was cut through 
Greylock schist with dynamite and jackhammers. Work was spread 
out over several years because of the impossibility of carrying on in 
winter when deep snow and heavy frost, chill mists and high winds 
make the upper stretches an Arctic region. The road ascends through 
a thick growth of beech, maple, elm, and birch trees into thick spruce. 
Even in midsummer the forest is so dense that the light is dim in 
the center, where the ground is literally carpeted with seedlings. 
From the road vistas have been cut out to permit a striking view 
into the Notch and farther up into the Hopper on the Williamstown 
side. In the winter time, skiers whizz down the long slope of the 

Notch Brook tumbles down alongside and sometimes under the 
highway. On the dashing mountain stream, in heavily wooded coun- 
try, are THE CASCADES — waterfalls in the shade of dense ever- 
greens. Beyond lie The Notch and Bellows Pipe, steep ravines rising 
up to the sheer slopes of Mt. Greylock. 

The mountains are farther away and the houses less frequent 
as you move toward the North Adams-Williamstown line and a 
Adams and North Adams. Fort Massachusetts dates from 1745, when 
it was built as the westernmost of a chain of four forts. Besides 
guarding against French and Indian war parties, the fort was meant 
to discourage Dutch settlers who paddled up the Hoosic River from 
the Hudson to claim land in Berkshire County. 

The tragic consequences of the raid upon the fort in 1746 are 
recorded by Henry Trumbull in his elaborately titled History of the 
Discovery of America, of the Landing of Our Forefathers, and of 
Their Most Remarkable Engagements with the Indians in New Eng- 
land (1825). 

Aug. 20. An army of about 9000 French and Indians, under command 
of Gen, DeVaudreuil, made an attack on Fort Massachusetts. The fort 
was commanded by Colonel Hawks, who, unfortunately, was not in a 
situation to defend it against such a force, having but 37 persons, men, 
women, and children, in the fort; and being miserably provided with 

26 The Berkjhire Hills 

ammunition. With great fortitude he defended it for 28 hours and had 
not his ammunition failed it is probable he never would have given up the 
fort. He was finally necessitated to capitulate; and he offered such articles 
as were accepted by DeVaudreuil. . . . Colonel Hawks lost but one man in 
the siege. Gen. DeVaudreuil, according to the best accounts the prisoners 
could obtain, lost 45, who were either killed outright, or died of their 

The fort was burned to the ground. For a few hours the French 
flag floated above the ruins, the first and only time that French con- 
quest was so marked in this State. 

The following year the fort was rebuilt and in August of 1748 
it was again assaulted by a force of several hundred French and 
Indians. The attack failed and the enemy, driven off, took them- 
selves down the trail, carrying their dead and wounded with them. 
During the next few years Fort Massachusetts continued to be gar- 
risoned by a small company, but about 1760 it was finally abandoned. 
The West Hoosac fort at Williamstown had become more convenient 
for those who had taken up lots in that vicinity. 

Chapter II 

WILLIAMSTOWN— Mass 2 and US 7, sett. 1749, alt. 603, pop. 4,272. 
Roads — Mass 2 leads directly from North Adams. 

"Tickets," flashed an advertisement in the Columbian Centinel for 
June 16, 1790, "in the Eighth Class of WiUiamstown Free-School Lot- 
tery, which positively commences drawing on Monday next, and 
will be completed the next morning, may be had of NATHAN 
BOND, No. 31, Cornhill, where the prizes will be paid on demand." 

Ten days later the lucky winners of the WiUiamstown Lottery 
were announced: 

"The fortunate Adventurers are required to call, as soon as con- 
venient, for their money, as the Managers (who live at a great dis- 
tance from this town) intend to close the business of the Lottery, as 
soon as possible." 

The holder of Ticket 2209 carried off the five hundred dollars 
top-money. He and his numerous companions, the fortunate (and 
unfortunate) Adventurers, might be called co-founders of one of 
the most illustrious institutions in the Berkshires — Williams College. 

Its original founder was Ephraim Williams, Jr., colonel in the 
service of the Massachusetts provincial government. With a party of 
three surveyors he had appeared in the Valley of the Hoosic in the 
fall of 1739, commissioned by the Governor and Council to lay out 
two townships at the headwaters of the Hoosic. Here was an excel- 
lent site for a miUtary outpost. A natural passage east and west, the 
valley had been a favorite trail for French and Indian raiders attack- 
ing English settlements. Conscious of its strategic value, leaders in 
Boston had taken alarm at the inroads of enterprising Dutchmen, 
who were steadily encroaching from northern New York. Colonel 
Williams' survey was never completed, however, because his group 
was continually harassed by "sundry gentlemen from Albany." (The 
colonies of Massachusetts and New York were not to settle their 


^ The Berkshire Hills 

boundary disputes until after the Revolution.) In 1749, a decade after 
Williams' attempt, another group finally succeeded in laying out 
the towns of East and West Hoosuck. 

Although his surveying was a failure, Williams never forgot the 
natural resources and beauty of the region. When West Hoosuck 
was established as a township he purchased two lots for himself 
and planned to make a home in the valley; only the colonies' demand 
for his miUtary services during the Revolution kept him from fol- 
lowing his pioneer intent. 

Williams, born in Newton in 1715, was a colorful figure in the 
early history of Massachusetts. An adventurous and scholarly youth, 
he left his native hearth to seek his fortune in foreign parts. 

For several years in early life he followed the sea, but by the persuasion 
of his father relinquished the business. In his several voyages to Europe 
he visited England, Spain and Holland; acquired graceful manners and a 
considerable stock of useful knowledge. . . . 

The "stock of knowledge" stood him in good stead when he took 
up soldiering. Rising quickly in rank, he was commissioned a Colonel 
in 1742 and placed in charge of Fort Shirley; later he was transferred 
to Fort Massachusetts, the westernmost outpost. When the French 
and Indian War broke out anew in 1754, the military authorities put 
him in command of the Hampshire Regiment and ordered him to 
join the siege of Crown Point on Lake Champlain. 

While on his way to the battlefield, Williams stopped at Albany 
and on the night of July 22, 1755, wrote a last testament: 

It is my will and pleasure and desire that the remaining part of Lands 
not yet disposed of shall be sold at the discretion of my Executors within 
five years after an established peace, and the interest of all the money and 
also the interest of my money arising by my bonds and notes shall be 
appropriated towards the support and maintenance of a Free School (in 
a township west of Fort Massachusetts commonly called the West Town- 
ship) forever, provided the s^ Township fall within the jurisdiction of the 
provinces of the Massachusetts Bay and provided also that the Governor 
and General Court give the s^ Township the name of Williamstown. 

On the eighth day of the following September, Colonel Williams 
was killed at the Battle of Lake George, but it was many years before 
the provisions in his will were carried out. 

Traditions that March On 29 

By June 21, 1765, West Hoosuck had a sufficiently large group of 
settlers to be incorporated as WILLI AMSTOWN. At the first town 
meeting, there were recorded "59 taxable polls, 57 oxen, 75 cows, 
and 85 sheep." Colonial recruits in the French and Indian wars had 
gazed upon the broad, fertile valley encircled by hills on their 
marches to meet the enemy; veterans, they had returned to establish 

The peaceful growth of the town was interrupted by the Revo- 
lution and sporadic Indian raids. During the campaigns at Benning- 
ton and New York, the new outpost served as a base of operations. 
On his way to Ticonderoga, Benedict Arnold stopped here to enlist 
volunteers for the Colonial army. Bread and beans for the soldiers 
at Bennington were baked in the home of Nehemiah Smedley while 
shots from the battlefield echoed through Williamstown. 

In the early years of the nineteenth century this was a prosperous 
agricultural community. Wide fields produced an abundance of rye, 
barley, and wheat, and farmers did well at dairying. Life in Williams- 
town, though self-sufficient, was also isolated. The Berkshires were 
an almost complete barrier to penetration from the east. Communi- 
cation was slow and dangerous, for the stagecoach service between 
Boston and Albany over the hazardous mountain roads was irregular. 
The mails were expensive and slow. Until 1876 and the coming of 
the railroad to North Adams the isolation was unbroken. 

There were abortive attempts to establish manufactories about the 
middle of the century. A potato starch factory was erected in 1833 
and a cotton mill some years earlier. As in the other Berkshire towns, 
the industrial flurry soon attracted strangers. A few French-Canadian 
families drifted down into the cotton mills, where a considerable 
number of English and Welsh operatives were already employed. 
With the railroad there sprang up a community of lusty, fun-loving 

In most ways WilUamstown of the 1850's was a typical New Eng- 
land town. Its distinctive possession was a college raised "in the 
shadow of a mountain." 

Nearly forty years passed after the death of Colonel Williams be- 
fore his dream of a free school was realized. Although the Revolution 
and the general insecurity of the times were obstacles, the primary 
cause of delay was a stipulation in Williams' will that the school 

30 The Berkshire Hills 

had to be located within the Massachusetts Bay Colony. To deter- 
mine whether Williamstown was going to end up in Massachusetts 
or New York the boundary dispute had to be settled, and this did 
not happen until 1787. Raising enough money for the maintenance 
of a free school was an equally thorny problem, for despite honest 
management, the Williams estate after three decades amounted to 
only ten thousand dollars — too meager a sum to establish even an 
unpretentious institution. 

By 1790, however, more than a ^^1200 profit had been realized 
from the lottery advertised in the Centinel, and the first building, 
West College, was erected in 1791. Within a year the trustees felt the 
need for expansion and once again a plea was made to the Legis- 
lature setting forth the "laudable wish" to see 

Massachusetts the Athens of the United States of America to which young 
gentlemen from any part of the Union may resort for instruction in all 
branches of useful and polite Literature. 

Williams College was formally chartered on June 22, 1793. After 
bestowing its spiritual benediction, the Legislature appropriated ;^300 
annually for four years. And to this were added nimierous con- 
tributions from the townspeople. 

Eighteen gangling farm youths and two teachers began the college 
in October, 1793, under a direct and simple curriculum devised by 
Dr. Ebenezer Fitch, the first president. He arranged the course of 
instruction as follows: 

Freshmen — English, Latin, Greek, French. 

Sophomores — Geography, Arithmetic, Rhetoric, Logic, Algebra. 

Juniors — Higher Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Astron- 
omy, Chemistry. 

Seniors — History, Ethics, Physics, Theology, Natural Law, 
Civil Polity. 

It was an imposing but a deceptive list, for coiu-ses were sketchy, 
teaching was dry and unimaginative, and the instructors generally 
not much advanced over the ignorant youths whom they were direct- 
ing. During the early years keeping discipline was a continuous 
faculty problem. The harassed teachers acted as instructors, police 

Traditions that March On 31 

officers, and judges. Devotion to study was counterbalanced by love 
of roistering. Smoking, gambling, and considerable drinking forced 
the trustees to institute a drastic system of punishments for various 
breaches of behavior. Fines were made to fit the crime, as a con- 
temporary list of penalties shows: 

Absence from classes i penny 

Late for prayer 3 pennies 

Employing a barber or hairdresser 

on the Lord's Day 2 shillings 

Drunkenness 3 shillings 

Hunting and fishing without leave i shilling 

Every spot of ink on a book i shilling 

Turning down the leaf of a book i shilling 

Not all the students' leisure hours were, to be sure, spent in im- 
pious debauch, for theological societies abounded. In 1817 the debating 
society engaged in bitter controversy over such vital matters of the 
day as "Liberty of the Press," "Theaters," "Divorce," and "The Edu- 
cation of Girls." 

In 1815, toward the end of President Fitch's term, Williams went 
into a decline. Student registration fell ofl and college finances were 
in a sorry state. Williamstown was considered too distant from cen- 
ters of population for a college, and claims were put in by Stock- 
bridge, Northampton, Greenfield, and Amherst. Dr. Moore, president 
of Williams from 1815 to 1821, wished to see the school in a more 
fortunate location and thought it should be removed to Amherst, 
the seat of an already flourishing academy. Nine of the dozen trustees 
agreed with him, but the little group who clung to Williamstown 
won out. Necessary funds to continue operation were gathered largely 
through the efforts of the Reverend Doctor Edward Griffin, appointed 
in place of Moore. He raised twenty-five thousand dollars in addition 
to the eighteen thousand dollars which the inhabitants of the town 
had already pledged toward the support of the college. New life was 
infused into a dying institution, and Williams was never again to 
suffer so acute a crisis. 

Though Williams never sought to establish official relations with 
any church, constant preoccupation with religion was the outstanding 
interest of students during the first decades of the nineteenth century. 

32 The Berkshire Hills 

Teachers were ordained ministers, a majority of the books in the 
college hbrary were theological, and the home life of the student 
was bathed in a spirit of piety. 

The American Foreign Missionary movement and indirecdy the 
United Brethren Church in the United States owe their origin to 
Williams College students. It all began during the height of a thunder- 
storm one August afternoon in 1806, when a group of young men, 
under the direction of Samuel John Mills, Jr., held a prayer meeting. 
In a letter written to a friend, Bryam Greene, one of the five students 
who took part, described the dramatic scene: 

That prayer meeting becomes interesting to the Christian community 
because it was then and there proposed to send the Gospel to the pagans 
of Asia and to the disciples of Mohammed . . . Mills proposed to send 
the Gospel to that dark and heathen land, and said that we could do it 
if we would. 

"Come," said Mills. "Let us make it the subject of prayer, under this 
haystack." . . . We all prayed . . . Mills made the last prayer. . . . He 
prayed that God would strike down the arm with the red artillery of 
heaven, that should be raised against the Cross. 

Mills went to Africa, founded a mission, and died at sea on his way 
home. The site of the prayer meeting is marked by the HAYSTACK 
MONUMENT amid the evergreens in Mission Park. 

Despite close relations between church and school, science held a 
high place in the college curriculum. In 181 1 Chester Dewey began 
his meteorological investigations at Williams. Amos Eaton inaugu- 
rated laboratory instruction in chemistry and physics in 1819, some 
years before the famed Liebeg in Germany and Thomson and Lord 
Kelvin in Scotland. The first field expedition in the history of 
American education was sent out from Williams under the guidance 
of Professor Albert Hopkins, one of the pioneer exponents of geo- 
logical and botanical field trips for undergraduates. One still hears 
about the day in 1835 when Professor "Al" Hopkins invited a party 
of students to accompany him to the quartzite ledges on East Moun- 
tain. After they had gone too far to back down, the canny professor 
produced crowbars which, he told them, were to be used in the 
construction of a novel building. Egged on by curiosity and tongue- 
lashed by their erudite overseer, the victims began to pry, dig, and 

Traditions that March On 33 

tumble down great blocks of stone. In this manner was laid the 
cornerstone of the Hopkins Astronomical Observatory, the second 
of its kind in America. 

Scholarship at Williams required brawn as well as brain, for one 
had to possess warm blood and bulging muscles to withstand the 
rigors of Williamstown winters. The Berkshire saying that "the best 
products of the county were ice and men" seemed true. Most of the 
student body was self-sustaining. They wore simple homespun, and 
lived for the most part on bread, milk, and cheese. Many were the 
days when students listened to early morning lectures, their attention 
divided between the needs of the brain and the desires of the stomach. 

The Williams working day began at half-past live in summer and 
at six in winter. At the first warning bell a student hopped out of 
bed into the ice-cold, pitch darkness. If the oil in his small lamp had 
not frozen during the night, he lighted it; the fire had to be started 
in the potbellied stove, and water drawn from the common well. At 
six came a second bell, a prelude to morning services. The chapel 
rarely had a fire, and the benches were hard. A professor would read 
from the Bible and then offer prayer. If the student at times turned 
a slightly frozen ear from lofty thoughts of Heaven to inviting reflec- 
tions on a warm Hell, who is to blame him? 

Life had its brighter side. For the religious, there was a theological 
society; for the literary, there was the college magazine, The Adelphi; 
for the few who sought to shine in the social firmament, fraternities 
were formed in 1832. Debating and temperance societies kept some 
students active. And always there was the refuge of the Berkshires 
with its tree-mantled hills, its deep valleys and streams. 

In his Recollections Washington Gladden has left a vivid picture 
of the town and the college at the mid-century: 

Williams College in 1856 was an institution of modest pretensions. Its 
faculty consisted of but nine members, all of them full professors, and 
the four classes averaged less than sixty each. . . . The curriculum was 
perfectly rigid; all the work was required; the only electives were in the 
junior year, when we were permitted to choose between French and 
German. The classes were not divided, the instructional force did not 
admit of that; the whole class met, three times a day, in the recitation 
room; naturally a student became pretty well acquainted with all his class- 
mates. . . . 

34 The Berkshire Hills 

College life in that time was very simple . . . My board, in a club, 
the first term, cost me two dollars and thirty cents a week . . . The entire 
expense of my college course, for the three years, including clothing, was 
less than nine hundred dollars. 

Commencement in August was the culmination of these years of 
work and play. In describing his own graduation. Gladden wrote: 

It drew to the village all the people of the countryside, and there were 
booths for gingerbread and root beer, and sellers of whips and toy bal- 
loons, and the usual assortment of fakirs. Few of the hundreds of country 
people who flocked to the show paid much attention to the graduation 
exercises; the occasion simply supplied them with an out-of-door holi- 
day. . . . 

Out of a total of fifty or sixty, from thirty to thirty-five men presented 
original orations. The speaking began in the village church about nine 
o'clock in the morning and continued until noon; after an intermission 
of two hours for dinner, the floodgates of oratory were reopened, and it 
was after four o'clock before the valedictorian made his final bow to the 
applauding crowd. 

The most momentous event in the development of the College 
during the nineteenth century was the appointment of Mark Hopkins 
as president in 1836. He was a true "Berkshire Borner" from Stock- 
bridge. Precocious as a child, he found that family circumstances 
made formal education dependent upon his own efforts. In 1820, 
when he was eighteen, he taught school in Virginia to earn money 
enough to go to Williams. Within ten years he had not only gradu- 
ated from Williams, but had an M.D. degree from the Berkshire 
Medical College in Pittsfield. From 1830 to 1836 he taught Philosophy 
and Rhetoric at Williams and served as assistant to the president. In 
the midst of these heavy labors, in 1833, he was ordained a minister. 

Hopkins, who served as president of Williams from 1836 to 1872, 
was an imposing figure in the lecture room. His tall frame slightly 
stooped above his great breadth of shoulder, his massive head with 
white sparse locks brushed forward over its gray dome, his long 
high-bridge aquiline nose, his piercing gray eyes beneath their bushy 
brows, his wide firm mouth ready to break into a smile — a figure 
of superb majesty combined with ready geniality. 

Personal relations between professors and students were ofl5cially 
encouraged during the Hopkins era. Book-knowledge was of second- 

Traditions that March On 


ary interest. Quoted frequently is his precept, "Accept only that which 
is the product of your own reason and intelligence." 

Revolutionary teaching, indeed, for the times! All the orthodox 
looked askance when he championed the laboratory and the experi- 
mental method of education. In order to illustrate his lectures in 
Anatomy and Physiology, he needed a life-sized figure that would 
open up and show its internal workings. This cost six hundred dol- 
lars — a lot of money in those days. Promptly Hopkins set out carry- 
ing the dummy in the back of his sleigh, giving lectures in little 
Berkshire villages to pay for it; and as he jogged over the country 
roads, he looked for all the world as if he were taking a corpse to 
ride. James A. Garfield summed up the opinions of Williams men 
when he declared, "A pine bench, with Mark Hopkins at one end 
of it and me at the other, is a good enough college for me." 

Williams owes to Hopkins a system of general examinations ^ven 
for sophomores, not unlike the Honors Examinations now used at 
the College and at a number of other American universities. 

When Hopkins left in 1872, Williams was "a place of intellectual 
power, refined taste and moral excellence." After this, a period of 
decline for the College again set in. A number of faculty members 
left for other positions, and the science courses, which had been such 
a vital part of the Williams curriculum, were weakened. Vigor was 
not regained until a decade later. 

Before the Civil War, two Negro servants played as important a 
role in the intimate history of the college as the presidents. "Aunt 
Hagar" Thompson, a former slave and a famed cook, served for 
years in the household of Doctor Griffin, the third president. A witty, 
talkative woman, she was the power behind the presidential chair. 
Many a rebellious student owed the continuation of his college work 
to the persuasive pleading of Hagar as she waited on table. After 
leaving the Griffin service, she served as laundress for the college 
until her death at the reputed age of 105 years. 

"Aunt Dinah" was another Williams "mammy." A foundling left 
at the Williamstown Tavern, she grew up with the college, and 
never acquired a last name. No Williams functions were complete 
without Aunt Dinah, clad in all her finery. She treated the deans 
and doctors as equals, and only once did she come off second best — 

36 The Berkshire Hills 

when she went to a class-day exercise with her dress on wrong- 

The town also had its quota o£ "characters," whose fame extended 
to the CoUege Campus. There was Bill Pratt, known throughout 
the region as the "Sawbuck Philosopher." A gangling, loose-jointed 
sawyer with protruding teeth. Bill was a spell-binding speech-maker. 
He managed to combine his official duties as woodcutter with the 
unofficial one of "town drunk." To the youth of the day, he was a 
sort of patron saint. Sometimes they called him "Bill of the Multiple 
Trousers" because of his habit of wearing three pairs of pants at 
one and the same time, in the depths of winter or on the hottest 
summer days. 

Then there was Abe Bunter, Bill's business rival and arch enemy. 
Abe was a cider maker. Possessed of a Gargantuan thirst, he had a 
wide reputation for drinking two gallons of his spirits to every one 
that he sold. His favorite pastime was butting his head like an 
enraged bull against the handiest door, fence, or post whenever Bill 
Pratt's virtues were extolled. 

Bill Pratt and Abe were among the champion hunters of the 
town — no easy honor, as hunting was one of the chief sports of the 
boys and men of Williamstown in the mid-nineteenth century. The 
woods were still full of deer and smaller game, and the numerous 
brooks and streams provided good fishing. Trapping the wily wood- 
chuck kept many a farm boy out in the fields until long after the 
summer sun had set behind the Taconics. In winter the tedium of 
the short gray days and long nights was relieved by coasting, skating, 
and sleighrides. 

During the second haLE of the nineteenth century, this simple, 
self-sufficient life began to change. New currents and manners made 
themselves felt in Williamstown. Summer colonists, attracted by the 
culture and learning of the College, established homes. New build- 
ings adorned the widening campus. New homes, smarter and more 
elaborate than any Williamstown had ever seen, were built. Fewer 
farmers tilled the fields on the outskirts. New roads leading into the 
town were surveyed. The Hoosac Tunnel, completed in 1875, made 
travel swift and easy from Boston to the West. Sidewalks were laid. 
Street lights were erected to add a metropolitan touch to the one 
main street. In 1885 the town fathers numbered among local assets 

Traditions that March On 37 

3600 people, 624 houses, 575 horses, 1210 cows, and 2054 sheep; the 
tax rate was $1.50 per $1000. WiUiamstown had gone a long way in 
a century. 

Any attempt to industrialize WiUiamstown was a feeble gesture 
at best. Today, only a small wire goods factory, a small cord mill, 
and a ginger ale factory remain. The famous SAND SPRING sup- 
plies water for the ginger ale. The spring is a thousand feet above 
sea level in the northeast corner of the town, near the old Indian North 
Trail. Indians enjoyed the warm, soft water which welled up, not 
through hmestone, but filtered by volcanic deposits, sand, and gravel. 
By 1800 a log bathhouse had been built beside the spring, and in 
1850 the first curative claims were made for it. For about sixty years 
the spot was used for a hotel where patients came to "take the 
waters;" later it became a sanitarium. In recent years, the bottled 
water and the ginger ale have proved more profitable. Through the 
Berkshires, Sand Springs Ginger Ale is favored over all "foreign" 

Extensive MOUNT HOPE FARM, in South WiUiamstown on 
Mass 43, is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. E. Parmalee Prentice, 
daughter and son-in-law of John D. Rockefeller. There are people 
who, upon hearing mention of WiUiamstown, think of Mount Hope 
Farm rather than of the College. Mount Hope is famous as the 
home of scientifically produced larger and better eggs. The farm has 
developed a brand-new type of cattle called the American Dairy Cow; 
agricultural research conducted here has received awards both in 
this country and abroad. Visitors are welcome on any day except 
Sunday, and if notice is sent in advance, they will be met by em- 
ployees and driven to the farm. 

Famous though Mount Hope Farm is in certain circles, it is 
Williams College that still dominates the town, for more than one- 
half of the townspeople derive their livelihoods from service, in some 
form or other, to the college. The union of town and gown is com- 

Relations between the townspeople and the students have not 
always been so friendly and amiable as they are today. Stories are 
still told of cows taken from barns during the night and marooned 
in the upper reaches of West College. Angry farmers missing hogs 
or goats from their flocks went instinctively to the college, where 

38 The Berkshire Hills 

they found the animals entertaining students in one of the class- 

In 1881, with the accession of Franklin Carter to the presidency, 
Williams took on new vitality. Endowments flowed in, the faculty 
was enlarged, and new buildings constructed. Seniors were the first 
to change from a rigid curriculum to elective courses, and by 191 1 
this freedom extended to all classes. The honor system was first used 
during the spring of 1896. 

By the end of the century Williams could list outstanding gradu- 
ates: Amos Eaton, naturalist; William Cullen Bryant, poet; Stephen 
Field, a justice of the United States Supreme Court; James A. Gar- 
field, President of the United States; Arthur Latham Perry, in 
his time the foremost American political economist and free trader, 
and his son BHss Perry, teacher, author, editor-in-chief of the Atlantic 
Monthly, and professor of English at Harvard. 

Williams kept pace with the new educational problems of the 
twentieth century. Harry A. Garfield, son of President Garfield, gave 
up a successful business career to become president of the college 
from which he had been graduated. In 1912 an unusual idea was 
launched at Williams. For some years. President Garfield had planned 
a series of round-table discussions in which the best brains of the 
world might participate. The courses offered to a selected group of 
advanced students and teachers would, he hoped, be an influence 
on education throughout the United States. Fulfillment of the plan, 
accepted by the trustees of the college in 191 3, was delayed by the 
War. President Garfield finally persuaded Bernard M. Baruch to 
underwrite the project, which as the "Institute of Politics" held its 
first summer session at Williamstown in 1921. A group of world 
authorities under the leadership of James Bryce and Elihu Root con- 
ducted discussions. The Institute met with immediate favor, and its 
scope and attendance were enlarged during the succeeding years until 
it reached a high point in 1926 with an enrollment of more than three 
hundred. In 1935, '37, and '39, the National Conference of Jews and 
Christians held an "Institute of Human Relations" at Williamstown. 

William Tyler Dennett, a Williams graduate, was elected as 
successor to Dr. Garfield in 1934. He abolished the student council 
and inter-fraternity board, revised the curriculum, and made chapel 
attendance optional, rather than compulsory as it had been. Dr. James 

Traditions that March On 39 

Phinney Baxter III succeeded Dennett in 1937. Dr. Baxter, an alumnus 
of Williams, as was his father, announced in his inaugural address 
that he was in complete agreement with the educational aim of his 
predecessor, and in favor of increased freedom and responsibility for 
the students. 

The Williams that opened in 1793, with one building, two faculty 
members and eighteen students, has undergone vast expansion. Today 
the college has an endowment of more than seven million dollars, 
a library of more than a hundred and fifty thousand volumes, over 
a hundred members on its faculty, and a student enrollment of eight 
hundred and fifty-seven. The college grounds cover more than two 
hundred and fifty acres of land with sixty lecture and classroom 
buildings, dormitories, and faculty dwellings. 

An impression of harmony, despite a variety of architectural styles, 
makes itself felt on the Williams campus, where buildings are set 
on wide lawns and among fine old trees. THOMPSON MEMORIAL 
CHAPEL is probably the most impressive unit. In this great, gray 
stone Gothic structure lies the body of Ephraim Williams. GRIFFIN 
and HOPKINS HALLS, named for former presidents of the college, 
flank the church. Behind the chapel is STETSON HALL, housing 
behind its red brick facade the Williams College Library and the 
famous Alfred Clark Chapin Library of Rare Books. Among the 
Chapin treasures is a set of the first four folios of Shakespeare, Colum- 
bus' letter announcing the discovery of the New World, Queen Eliza- 
beth's autographed copy of Cranmer's Bible dated 1561, and a large 
collection of incunabula. 

Across from the Chapel, EAST COLLEGE, CURRIER, FAYER- 
WEATHER, and BERKSHIRE HALLS form a generous-sized 
quadrangle with the squat stone HOPKINS OBSERVATORY in the 
background. LAWRENCE HALL, the English Georgian building 
to the right of East College, is the art museum where Greek, Etruscan, 
Peruvian, and Mayan pottery, Egyptian and Assyrian reliefs, potteries 
and flints, and Japanese ivories and ceramics are on display. 

Next to the President's House on the north side of Main Street is 
the CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, which used to be die Col- 
lege Chapel as well as the town church. Its slim spire, shining white 
paint, and graceful outline make it one of the most attractive churches 
in Berkshire. 

40 The Berkshire Hills 

Lining Main Street are college buildings, fraternity houses, and 
old homes. The fraternity houses vary, lavish twentieth-century show 
places next to mellow houses with history written on every hinge and 
doorstep. Back of Chapin Hall on the campus is the VAN RENS- 
SELAER HOUSE, now the headquarters of Sigma Phi Fraternity, 
formerly the home of Stephen Van Rensselaer, last of the Dutch 
patroons, projector of the Erie Canal, and founder of Rensselaer Poly- 
technic Institute. When the house was about to be demolished in 
Albany, the College brought it here. 

Where Mass 2 and US 7 turn toward Troy at the western end of 
the Common, a large gray stone MEMORIAL BOULDER has been 
placed on the site of the blockhouse of 1756. This was the civic center 
of the infant West Hoosuck settlement, now Williamstown. In the 
autumn of 1752, some sixteen proprietors lived in West Hoosuck. 
When war with the French and Indians broke out anew after a short 
period of truce, eleven of these proprietors, feeling a bit uneasy, peti- 
tioned the General Court for a haven nearer than Fort Massachusetts, 
which was too far east to be of much help. Fort Hoosac was built, a 
flimsy affair of mortised logs defended by a scant handful of yeomen 
with muzzle-loading, smoothbore guns. It was the sole refuge for the 
women and children. Here a memorial has been raised to "the mem- 
ory of the original settlers of West Hoosac who endured the perils 
and the appalling loneliness of the wilderness in heroic defense of 
this barrier town." 

One of these early settlers was Colonel Benjamin Simonds, the 
only English captive of the many taken to Canada from Fort Massa- 
chusetts who returned to settle in Hoosuck. Colonel Simonds built 
the RIVER BEND TAVERN which stands just across the wide, new 
bridge on the road toward Bennington (US 7), where the Hoosic 
makes a wide sweep along Simonds Road. The tavern has in its cellar 
a great stone oven, fully large enough to hide a dozen men or more. 
Beans and bread were baked here for the Revolutionary soldiers and 
sent to Bennington posthaste. 

Opposite the River Bend Tavern is the old WELL SWEEP 
HOUSE, with the date 1770 on the front corner. In this little white 
clapboarded dwelling Colonel Simonds passed the last ten years of 
his life. The old well with its long sweep supplied water for the 
neighborhood. In his declining years the Colonel liked to sit in the 

Traditions that March On 41 

front doorway of his Well Sweep home, rigged out in his regimental 
coat, knickerbocker trousers, frilled shirt, and continental hat, greet- 
ing anyone who passed by. 

Among the first occupants of West Hoosuck Blockhouse was Cap- 
tain Nehemiah Smedley, an original homesteader of WilUamstown 
and one of the builders of the first meetinghouse. Between 1770 and 
1777 he raised the large farmhouse called the GREEN RIVER MAN- 
SION, which stands back a bit on the road leading to North Adams 
(Mass 2) about half a mile from the center of Williamstown. It is 
three stories in height, and broadly clapboarded. The mansion was 
famous for its huge stone oven which could accommodate many dozen 
loaves of bread, countless batches of rye bread, and johnnycake enough 
for a regiment. 

One of the visitors to Captain Nehemiah's cellar kitchen was 
Benedict Arnold, as his bill of expenses rendered the government 

The Honorable Provincial Congress of Massachusetts Bay 
To B. Arnold, Dr. 
Disbursements from Cambridge to Ticonderoga, 1775 
May 6 — To ferrage at Deerfield, is.6d.; breakfast 2S.2d. 

To dinner and lodging, 4s.iod.; paid Nehemiah 
Smedley 60s. 

Certainly 60s. is a great deal for a meal — more than could have been 
eaten either by Arnold or his companion. Did he pay Captain Nehe- 
miah, an officer in the mihtia and one of the most prominent and 
influential men thereabouts, the extra ^^3 to enlist men for him? This 
seems likely, for Arnold was in a hurry to collect troops, hopeful of 
becoming the sole commander of the Green Mountain Boys whom 
the Connecticut Committee of War had equipped. He could not 
foresee that Ethan Allen would be in command at the surrender of 

Of the other houses perhaps the oldest is the PROPRIETORS' 
HOUSE, where the first town meeting in Williamstown was held in 
1753. A small, white cottage with neat green trim, it stands on Buckley 
Street about a half mile from the junction of Mass 2 and US 7 near 
the Hemlock Brook bridge. 

42 The Ber\shire Hills 

Less than a quarter of a mile from the junction of Mass 2 and 
Mass 43 is another great-grandfather dweUing, the "TOWNER" or 
"WELCH" HOUSE (64 Water Street), buih in the early 1770's. The 
light-brown, shingled structure has been in the Welch family for 
seventy-two years. Prior to that a jeweler occupied it, and his forge, 
built into the wall, still remains. The TOWN HALL, formerly the 
Methodist Church, is now used in summer as a theater by the Wil- 
liamstown Players. 

Thoreau's comment aptly fits Williams: 

It were as well to be educated in the shadow of a mountain as in more 
classic shade. Some will remember, no doubt, not only that they went to 
college, but that they went to the mountain. 

As mountains go, the Berkshires are not lofty, not even Greylock, 
3,505 feet and the highest point in the State. But Greylock and the 
Berkshires, especially around Williamstown, have a charm not found 
in many of the great mountains of the world. Of the stories and 
legends about Old Greylock, the one about the "Specter" is most 

Thirty years ago, at the end of the summer season, a Berkshire 
man was bringing down the piano from the little recreation house 
atop the mountain. Suddenly he saw himself, his horse and wagon 
and the piano standing upright, outlined in monstrous design against 
the sky. Unable to decide whether he had quaffed too much from the 
"cup that cheers," he is said to have fled in haste from the moun- 
tainside to the minister, and taken the pledge at once. 

The phenomenon of a gigantic shadow of an object reflected in a 
cloud is so well known as to have a German name, the Brocf^enge- 
spenst (Specter of the Brocken) from Brocken, the highest peak of 
the Hartz Mountains. As Greylockgespenst would be a bit unwieldy 
for Berkshire, here it is simply called the Specter. C. H. Towne tells 
more about it in his Autumn Loitering. 

The GREYLOCK RESERVATION offers great variety in recrea- 
tion — trails for ambitious hill climbers, swift mountain brooks for 
ardent fishermen, glimpses of deer and bears in the birch, hemlock, 
and pine forests, and ski trails and snowshoe paths in winter. But 
the mere sightseer has his own pleasures. He may go by car from 
North Adams up the Notch Road or, when this is closed in winter, 

Traditions that March On 43 

the best route is south, along US 7 to the New Ashford Road, which 
leads into Rockwell Road and so up to the TOWER ON GREY- 
LOCK. Here is a view overlooking the entire valley. The heavy foliage 
in summer, the richly shaded leaf-change in the fall, even the bleak- 
ness when winter comes, each has its special attraction. It was from 
a high point on the mountain that Havnhorne saw 

a view of Williamstown at the distance of a few miles — two or three, 
perhaps — a white village and steeple, in a gradual hollow, with high moun- 
tainous swells heaving themselves up, like immense, subsiding waves, far 
and wide around it. On these high mountain-waves rested the white sum- 
mer clouds, or they rested as still in the air above; and they were formed 
into such fantastic shapes that they gave the strongest possible impression 
of being confounded or intermixed with the sky. It was like a day-dream 
to look at it; and the students ought to be day-dreamers, all of them. 

Chapter III 

NEW ASHFORD— US 7, sett. 1762, alt. 1350, pop. 94. 

HANCOCK — Mass 143, sett. 1767, alt. 1020, pop. 408. 

LANESBOROUGH — US 7, sett, about 1753, alt. 1210, pop. 1237. 

Roads — US 7 leads directly from W illiamstown to New Ashford; Lanes- 
borough is on the same route. 

At Brodie Mountain Road, south of New Ashford, branch right to Mass 
4^, then left to Hancoc\ Center. 

Five times in twenty years the mountain village of NEW ASHFORD 
has made the front page of newspapers from Maine to California. 
Even the foreign journals have recognized New Ashford. Spaniard 
and Japanese, Frenchman and Russian, each soundlessly mouthing 
the outlandish name, have read how New Ashford, Massachusetts, 
cast its twenty-five or thirty votes for President of the United States. 
From 1916 to 1932 the Berkshire community was first in the nation 
to have its presidential choice recorded, and in the columns of the 
press led all the cities and towns of the country. 

This feat of high-pressure publicity was planned by two news- 
papermen from the city of Pittsfield. In 1912 Carey S. Hayward, city 
editor of the Pittsfield Journal, and Dennis J. Haylon, managing edi- 
tor of the Berkshire Evening Eagle, conceived a way to bring fame to 
New Ashford and to all Berkshire County. The town fathers approved 
the scheme, but unfortunately the election warrant calling for the 
polls to open at 10 a.m. had already been posted. Nothing could 
be done; for four more years the little town had to endure ob- 

National press associations, approached in 1916, met the Haylon- 
Hayward plan for Berkshire publicity with raised eyebrows. Even 
the now defunct Pittsfield Daily News, Hayward's paper, which had 
absorbed the Journal, rejected the idea. But the Eagle was persuaded 
to cooperate and the support of many citizens of Pittsfield was en- 


Oil Lamps and Ballots 45 

listed. Then in the flush of enthusiasm Haylon approached the Asso- 
ciated Press. 

"It can't be done. And if it could, what of it?" was the response. 

That year New Ashford's polls opened at 6 a.m. and were 
scheduled to close by 10 a.m. at the latest. Twenty-two out of the 
twenty-three voters were willingly driven "city style" to the school- 
house. Despite their cooperation, however, the polls closed at exactly 
ten; not that it required four hours to assemble the town's voters, 
but because one individualist, whom "fate tried to conceal by naming 
him Smith," felt that if the law decreed that the polls should be open 
until ten in the morning then it was a violation to close before that 
time. He entered the school at 9:55 and, as soon as his vote was cast, 
the townspeople fretted until the officials frantically tallied sixteen 
votes for Hughes to Wilson's seven. The press cars stood by with 
throbbing engines, ready to race to the nearest telephone, three miles 
away in Lanesborough. At last the automobiles, donated by Pittsfield 
enthusiasts, roared away from the schoolhouse over the rutty country 
roads. New Ashford, despite Mr. Smith, had made the front page. 

In 1920 other small towns entered the competition; excitement ran 
high. Would obstinate Mr. Smith insist on standing on his rights.? 
Everyone expected him to deposit his vote at the very last minute, 
unruffled by the glares and mutterings of his fellow townsmen. To 
the surprise of all, he was the first to cast his ballot when the polls 
opened, and even graciously consented to pose for the grinning 
cameramen. At his side stood shy Miss Phoebe Jordan, nearing seventy, 
the first woman to vote in New Ashford after the passage of the 
woman's suffrage bill. The record vote — twenty-eight for Harding 
and Coolidge, six for Cox and Roosevelt — was totaled by half past 
seven. New Ashford again had scored a smashing victory over rival 

In 1922, the path to fame was made easier. A new concrete high- 
way (US 7), continued from Lanesborough into New Ashford, pro- 
vided the town with the first hard-surfaced road in its history. People 
could get to the polls much more quickly, and New Ashford hit 
its stride in 1924, tallying Coolidge's twenty votes and Davis' four 
by 6:53 in the morning. Four years later, twenty-seven minutes 
were slashed off the record and a short-wave radio set was installed 

46 The Berkshire Hills 

in the schoolhouse to flash out New Ashford's verdict: Hoover, 
twenty-eight votes; Al Smith, three. 

The neighboring hilltop town of Peru was considered a serious 
contender for first honors in 1932, but New Ashford rushed in ahead 
by two hours, with twenty-four votes for Hoover and eight for 
Roosevelt. An exotic touch was added by Gregory Makaroff, a natu- 
ralized Russian, who hoofed it along the concrete highway with a sign 
"Good luck to Roosevelt!" on his back. 

Then came the fateful year 1936. New Ashford had gone in heavily 
for modern improvements — two telephones now, a pay-station at 
Benjamin Boyce's filling station right in the center of town, and 
another at the home of Forrest C. White, one of the selectmen. The 
seven voters of Millsfield, New Hampshire, had been tipped off that 
their newly formed town might become first in the nation, if only 
they were willing to go to bed later than usual. Massachusetts law, less 
flexible than New Hampshire statute, forbids opening the polls before 
5:45 a.m.; at 12:01 a.m. the citizens of Millsfield dropped all seven 
ballots in the box and New Ashford lost its place in the morning 
papers of the nation. 

The townspeople of New Ashford were unaware that a plot was 
on foot to deprive them of their moment of fame. Long before sun- 
rise on this short November day a crowd of some 250 "furriners" 
assembled about the small weatherworn building that for a century 
and a half has served New Ashford as schoolhouse and town hall. 
Some were curiosity-seekers eager to edge into the limelight; others 
were newspaper men out on a "color story." Photographers, with 
cameras and flash bulbs ready, jostled good-naturedly in the vantage 
points before the schoolhouse, with its sagging shingled roof and 
squat chimney. The scarred doors, hooked open, revealed a scene 
of absorbed anticipation: booths and tables crowded the fifteen-by- 
eighteen-foot floor space; an official, seated importantly, was tapping 
his teeth with a pencil; other officials bustled about on weighty 

For more than an hour lights had been winking in the windows 
and lanterns had been bobbing in the yards of hill farms. Women 
were giving the older girls last-minute directions for the care of the 
babies, and every member of each family had some chore, from the 
toddlers underfoot trying to help, to the boys serious with their re- 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 47 

sponsibility of feeding the stock and milking the cows. Men tried to 
crank the cold engine of the Model T without splitting the seams of 
their Sunday jackets. Then proudly erect on the worn cushions of 
the family car, jouncing over the steep stony roads, the voters of New 
Ashford started out to do their civic duty. 

Almost everyone was early enough for some discussion of agri- 
cultural matters, a little neighborly gossip, and a few glances at the 
"furriners" who were frankly staring. Someone sniggered as a pho- 
tographer took a flashlight picture of an old lady in a rusty black 
coat and ancient bonnet. She did not smile and only blinked rapidly 
as the light exploded in her face. When these preliminaries were 
over, an official, watch in hand, nodded his head and the voters filed 
into the hall. By six everyone present had dropped a ballot in the 
box. But they couldn't begin the count. Mrs. WiUiam Rainey from 
'way over in the foothills of Greylock on the edge of the wilderness, 
had signified her intention to vote. But she had not appeared, to the 
great concern of the townspeople clustered together, anxiously watch- 
ing the road. There was still time, for by law the polls had to remain 
open until ten. They knew that Mrs. Rainey had to walk miles from 
her lonely home. Perhaps one of her children was sick, or the cow 
had calved. After what seemed an interminable wait, someone espied 
her coming down the mountain road, her coat billowing out behind 
her in the wind. A cheer arose as she came into full view, ran the 
last few paces, shoved aside two heifers that had strayed from a 
nearby pasture, and stumbled up the steps into the schoolhouse. 

But she was too late. The returns from Millsfield, New Hampshire, 
were already in. The lady from the hills arrived less than twenty 
minutes after the polls opened. The culprit, if any, was the Massa- 
chusetts law, which believes that the voter should have his night's 
sleep before going to the polls. 

"It is so quiet and peaceful in New Ashford that you can hear 
a feather drop from the breast of a bird," wrote Josh Billings back 
in the 1850's. He knew, because he had been born only a few miles 
away in Lanesborough. Twenty-five years ago, you could still hear 
a feather drop in New Ashford, and today, provided you abandon 
the main highway, you will discover the peace of the hills. Even the 
mansion houses along the fringes of Greylock have settled down into 
the tranquillity of the thousands of forested acres that surround them. 

48 The Ber\shire Hills 

Mountain brooks dash over schist ledges to empty into the swift Green 
River and find their way to the Hoosic at WiUiamstown; the wood- 
land runways of the wild deer pass close by the doors of the village; 
and raccoons whistle their shrill startUng notes from the ledges that 
enclose the narrow valley. 

The original setders of New Ashford came from Rhode Island, 
Connecticut, and eastern Massachusetts. As early as 1762 several Bap- 
tists and Methodists built their homes along the steep mountainsides, 
where there is scarcely enough level ground for a "cow to get a 
footing." They chose this inaccessible spot rather than the lowlands 
to avoid the valley mist which, they believed, brought fever. Moreover, 
Indians could too easily ambush a valley farm. On the heights, then, 
they built a fort and houses and began to clear their tilted fields. For 
many years rotting ash logs, once part of the defense of the settlers 
against Indian arrows, indicated the location of Ashfort, as the town 
was then called. Today the site of the fort, marked by a monument, 
lies within the Greylock Reservation near the crossing of the old stage- 
coach road from New Ashford and the Rockwell Road to Greylock. 

As Indian hostilities diminished and the fear of fever waned. New 
Ashford residents ventured into the valley, staked their lots, and laid 
plans for a new and permanent settlement. Without railroad or main 
highway until the twentieth century, New Ashford grew to maturity 
in the silence of the hills. 

So sohtary a spot appealed to a British deserter who joined the 
Americans during the Revolution. In an effort to break all links with 
the past, he adopted the name of Robert Twentymen, "A dinner for 
Twentymen," was the order sent on ahead to the landlord of a certain 
tavern whither Robert Twentymen was journeying one day. And a 
dinner for twenty men was brought steaming from the great kitchen 
as Twentymen's knock sounded at the door. Though the landlord's 
anger mounted higher and higher, Twentymen indignantly refused 
to pay for the nineteen extra dinners which he had never requested. 

During its more active days around 1822 the town began to quarry 
its blue and white marble deposits, but by 1845 transportation from 
the quarry to the railroads cost too much to make business profitable. 
The sawmills and charcoal kilns have likewise long been idle, and 
residents of the town have steadily decreased in number. Along the 
highway (US 7), which closely follows the course of the old road 



«i W- 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 49 

built in 1841, connecting Pittsfield with Williamstown, there are 
cabin camps, roadside stands, and summer cafes. Nine bridges carry 
the modern highway across the loops and coils of the meandering 
Green River. While they do "a bit of fishing" or "go out after a deer," 
Berkshire visitors board and lodge in New Ashford. Hikers and 
amateur naturalists come in increasing numbers. The tourist season 
no longer ends with the falling leaves, for the smooth, steep slopes of 
New Ashford's mountainsides attract hundreds of skiers. 

About one mile south of the center of town, on US 7, is RED 
BAT CAVE, named by the late Cortlandt Field Bishop, world 
traveler. In 191 8 he and a group of scientists explored the cave, then 
called Baker Cave, and discovered black bats with red heads hiber- 
nating there. It may have been used during the Revolution as a refuge 
by Tories who knew that they would receive little quarter from 
Berkshire patriots if they were found. It is now equipped with electric 
lights and ladders for exploring its depths, and during the summer 
months is open to the public. And the town lives up to its electrically 
lighted cave, for since November, 1931, the Pittsfield Electric Com- 
pany has had nineteen customers in New Ashford. But tourists, tele- 
phones, twentieth-century trappings have hardly altered the moimtain 
village. Folks raised in the serene shadow of the hills don't easily 
change their ways. 

Beyond New Ashford, in a secluded valley among the Taconics, 
lies HANCOCK. A glance at the map reveals a sprawhng township. 
Houses and farms are scattered down a narrow valley seven miles 
long, following the course of the branches of the Green and Kinder- 
hook rivers. 

About 1767 Hancock was described as a "long, ungainly town, so 
badly located that the inhabitants of one end can not reach the other 
end without going out of town, and mostly out of the county and 
State; it is hemmed in by steep mountains on both sides, so steep that 
one can not climb out without spoiling the knees of his pantaloons, 
or go back without spoiling their seat." 

This timely witticism of the town's Representative in the General 
Court, Samuel Hand, saved Hancock from an increase in valuation 
and taxes when assessments in other towns were raised. 

Hancock was originally called Jericho, probably because of the 

50 The B€r\shire Hills 

mountains that hem it in. The town was incorporated in 1776 for 
an interesting reason, as the record shows: 

Whereas it has been represented to this Honorable Court that the 
inhabitants of a place called Jericho, in the county of Berkshire, have 
been taxed for several years past, and have met with difficulties in assess- 
ing and collecting the same and likewise are liable for many other incon- 
veniences for want of being incorporated into a township. Be it therefore 
enacted by the Council and House of Representatives in General Court 
assembled and by the authority of the same that the said Plantation . . . 
containing about 20,000 acres of land, be and hereby is enacted into a 
town by the name of Hancock . . . and be it further enacted that Asa 
Douglass, Esq., be and hereby is directed and impowered to issue his 
warrant, directed to some principal inhabitant within this town, requiring 
him to warn the inhabitants of said town, having a free hold therein to the 
value of forty shillings per annum, or other estate to the value of forty 
pounds, to meet at such time and place in said town, as shall be therein 
described, to choose all such officers as are or shall be required by law to 
manage the affairs of said town, etc., July 2d, 1776. 

Although Hancock is New Ashford's nearest neighbor on the 
west, there is no direct road between the two towns. The Brodie 
Mountain Road from Lanesborough leads off US 7 to the west just 
past the New Ashford-Lanesborough town line, and winding sharply 
over the mountain between dark hillsides, descends in a long, slow 
grade into Hancock Center. 

The Potter Mountain Road from Pittsfield is an alternate route, 
though dangerously muddy in wet weather. It offers a drive through 
a thickly forested region with mountain scenery. Many prefer a third 
route. Mass 43, which goes out of South Williamstown. 

This route turns off at the four corners in South Williamstown, 
where a sign points the way to "Hancock and Stephentown," along a 
macadam road leading into a broad green valley between the Taconics. 
From the valley floor rolling fields sweep gently upward east and 
west till lowland and highland are blended in the sky. In contrast 
to this natural beauty are the small, dingy, nondescript houses along 
the roadside, their front yards littered like junkyards with rusty farm 
implements. For a five-mile stretch there are no electric transmission 
lines, no telephone wires. The traveler will pass a hillside boulder 
marking the five hundred acres of the EDWARD HOWE FOR- 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 51 

cemetery surrounded by a fancy iron grill fence, gnarled old trees, 
and a clump of somber firs. So clear is the air that you can hear the 
singing brook as it rushes to join the Hoosic, and the sharp rhythm 
of an axe biting into standing timber. 

The valley narrows in the dark bulk of the mountains, and houses 
more numerous and pretentious mark the existence of HANCOCK 
CENTER, once a prosperous town with flocks of sheep grazing on 
the steep slopes, a flourishing textile industry, grist mills, tanneries, 
quarries, and sawmills. In 1790 the town had a population of 121 1. 
Hancock is a ghost town now, with a gaunt, forlorn appearance. 
The population has shrunk to 408, and the houses are shabby and 
worn; only an occasional wagon or automobile passes down the main 
street; perhaps a woman will appear briefly to shake a rug or to call 
a child. But the town remembers the old days when the paint was 
bright on the houses and life moved faster. 

Traditions and tales from the past are Hancock's chief contribution 
to the history of Berkshire. Her glory was at its peak during the years 
when the "Berkshire Boys" marched up the long valley to Benning- 
ton, and Tories received short shrift from the patriots. 

A loyal Tory of Hancock, Richard Jackson, was accused of high 
treason against the Colonies when he was captured on his way to 
join the British near Bennington. Making no pretense of being other 
than a Royalist, ready to fight for his king, he was taken to the jail 
at Great Barrington to await trial in Springfield. The jail was dilapi- 
dated and the guard lax, so that any prisoner could have escaped with 
ease. But Jackson's integrity was beyond question. Local tradition has 
it that he appealed to the sheriff. 

"Let me go free that I may work and earn something." 

"But — but — " stammered the sheriff, who respected Jackson, though 
he felt that this request was a little unorthodox. 

"Have no fear. Sheriff, I shall come back at night," and he added 
grimly, "When it's time for me to be hanged, I'll be there." 

Morning after morning Jackson was let out, did his day's work, 
and was safely locked up again at night. Finally in May it became 
the sheriff's duty to take him to Springfield. But seeing that his jailer 
was loath to leave his plowing and planting, Jackson suggested that 
he make the trip alone. 

The sheriff, accustomed by this time to his prisoner's unusual re- 

52 The Berkshire Hills 

quests, agreed, and his charge set off alone to trudge miles through 
the woods to his trial and execution, for there was no apparent hope 
of acquittal. In the woods of Tyringham he was overtaken by the 
Hon. Mr. Edwards, who was on his way to a meeting of the Executive 
Council in Boston. 

"Whither are you bound?" asked Edwards. "To Springfield, sir, 
to be tried for my hfe," was the calm rejoinder. 

Without disclosing his own identity, Edwards soon learned his 
companion's story. Pondering, he went on to Boston, while Jackson 
stopped in Springfield, was duly tried, and condemned to death. 
Meantime, the Executive Council, which at that time exercised power 
of release over those condemned to death, was listening to petitions 
for pardon. After all these had been read, Edwards asked the Council 
if a pardon was not to be granted to Mr. Jackson of Hancock. Ear- 
nestly addressing the assembly, Edwards told the story of Jackson's 
loyalty not only to his king, but to the laws and regulations of the 
Colony in so far as they implied no disloyalty to his English sovereign. 
The members of the Council hesitated, scarcely believing their ears, 
but when the story was proved true, they unanimously agreed that 
such a man as Jackson ought not to be sent to the gallows. An uncon- 
ditional pardon was immediately made out and the loyal Tory re- 
turned to his family and farm in Hancock. 

The early town records of Hancock lead one to wonder what 
kind of reception awaited Jackson after he cheated the noose. The 
town was militantly patriotic in Revolutionary times. Her sons served 
their country valiantly and as a rule Royalists received litde tolerance 
from the Town Fathers, as witness the record of September, 1777 : 

Voted that Mr. Benjamin Baker be, and hereby is, appointed to pro- 
cure such evidence as may be had against all persons charged by the 
inhabitants of this town as being enimically disposed towards this or 
any of the United States, ^nd lay evidence before the court . . . That 
Timothy Walker is not a suitable person to serve this town in the capacity 
of selectman . . . That Christopher Kinyon shall not serve this town in 
the capacity of committee man hereafter . . . That six persons . . . are 
by this vote ordered to be kept confined in Hampton jail . . . 

Those people who were judged unfit for public office, one infers, 
had Tory leanings. Others were disposed of in the following manner: 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 53 

"Voted the eleven persons above named shall not be suffered to dwell 
nor remain in town." 

At the Battle of Bennington the "Berkshire Boys" fired their 
muskets with such enthusiasm that anxious wives in Hancock could 
hear the roar. The wife and daughter of Lieutenant James Smith of 
Hancock scrambled up to the high northern summit of what is now 
called Potter Mountain. AU day long they listened to the far-off 
reports of guns and cannon as Britishers and Yankees gave each other 
ball for ball. A little earlier on that historic day (August i6, 1777), 
fighting Parson Allen of Pittsfield, at the head of the Berkshire 
troops from that section, had met General Stark with the words: 

"We, the people of Berkshire, have frequently been called upon to 
fight, but have never been led against the enemy. We have now re- 
solved, if you will not let us fight, never to turn out again." 

They had their chance that day. Mrs. Smith, perched precariously 
on the ledge, wiped her eyes again and again as her daughter re- 
peated: "Ma, that's Pa's gun for sure! Ma, can't you hear it.?" As 
night approached Mrs. Smith suddenly "felt a presentiment." 

"Molly, I do believe your father's coming home tonight!" she 
exclaimed. "We'd better go home and put the kettle on and get the 
supper, for Jamie '11 soon be here." Sure enough, the soldier greeted 
his delighted family at supper time; a night's furlough had been 
granted him after the victory at Bennington. 

In early colonial days the town of Hancock embraced a section of 
Lebanon, New York,, once famous for its Warm Springs. To enjoy 
its medicinal properties, men and women took turns bathing in it on 
alternate days. A high fence insured privacy from "Peeping Toms." 
Let the warrant drawn up by the town fathers tell the rest of the 
story : 

That whereas a complaint is preferred ... to inform this meeting of 
some dishonorable conduct of a number of animals said to be in Human 
Shape, who being so lost to every principle of Modesty and every Senti- 
ment of Humanity, Good order and decency as to tair off the Raillings 
which surround the Bath, to peak in and climb up look over etc., at a 
time when the Female Sex are Bathing therein, it is Resolved that Lieuten- 
ant Ephraim Bowman be . . . requested to Erect and Set up at the Most 
Suitable place near Said Pool, at the expense of this town, a Sufficient 
Whipping Post for the Immediate punishment of all such Sordid Mis^ 

54 The Berkshire Hills 

creants who dare in future to be found Guilty of Such Shameful Mis- 
conduct . . . 

There is no further record of "Peeping Toms" in Hancock. 

Care for the morals of the community also appeared in the ordi- 
nance that "There shall be no horse-racing in this town." The order 
did not apply, it seems, to the famous Berkshire horse, "Old Ti," and 
his fearless rider, Asa Douglass, one of the first settlers of Hancock 
and the town's representative in the General Court. Douglass offered 
his services as a spy for the colonists. Pretending to be a farmer in 
search of lost cattle, he penetrated right into the midst of the enemy 
at Fort Ticonderoga. After studying the fortifications and estimating 
the enemy's man-power, Douglass crept stealthily to the outskirts of 
the camp, mounted his horse, and started for home. But his move- 
ments so aroused suspicion that a soldier shouted: "A spy! The old 
farmer is a spy!" 

Douglass gave "Old Ti" free rein and implored him, "Race as you 
never raced before! Get me home to the Berkshires and I swear I'll 
never put a saddle on your back again!" The sturdy young horse 
galloped up hill and down dale, outdistancing the pursuit. Some say 
that Asa was true to his impulsive promise, and that the horse lived 
to a peaceful old age in the pasture. Others insist that his master 
saddled him once more, when he rode at the head of his company 
to the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in May, 1775. 

Settlers of the southern part of Hancock, who built homes on and 
near Lebanon Mountain, became Shakers and established their own 
meetinghouse and village. The community was small at first, con- 
sisting of Israel Talcott and the Goodriches — Daniel, Nathan, David, 
Ezekiel, Hezekiah, and Jeremiah. These seven formed the nucleus 
of the faith's second community. 

Mother Ann Lee with eight followers from Manchester, England, 
propagated the faith. In 1779 the sect, one of the first of almost two 
hundred communistic societies attempted in the country, setded New 
Lebanon, New York. Two years later, the founder, who claimed 
immortaUty and called herself "Ann the Word," started proselytizing 
in New England. The Shakers, who were pacifists, had arrived in 
America at an ill-chosen time, and their persecution and imprison- 
ment were ended only when Governor Clinton intervened in their 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 55 

behalf. Besides their advocacy of peace, the Shakers held to three 
cardinal principles: confession, celibacy, and community of interest. 
Their converts announced, "The worldly goods which we possessed 
are no longer our own," before they were admitted to the society to 
practise the virtues of faith, hope, honesty, continence, innocence, 
simplicity, meekness, humility, prudence, patience, thankfulness, and 
charity. This abundance of virtue could be achieved, they believed, 
by duty to God, duty to man, practical peace, simplicity of language, 
right use of prosperity, and the celibate life. 

No road leads over the mountain heights from Hancock Center 
to the Shaker community. The main highway (US 7) to Pittsfield 
and then the road to Albany (US 20) will take the visitor there. 
When the sect first settled, in the 1790's, there were only a few 
families, but they spread their doctrines so successfully that they even- 
tually owned some 5000 acres of land and the large community came 
to be known as SHAKER VILLAGE. A picturesque feature of the 
settlement is a circular stone barn erected in 1826. Its circumference 
is 276 feet, and all the stalls face the outer walls. The spacious upper 
floor is so arranged that ten wagons may be driven around it, nose to 
tailboard, at one time. 

Only a remnant of the once prosperous Shaker family remains 
today, but they still conduct a small school, under State supervision. 
Now and then, a gende-faced Shaker lady in bonnet, sober gown, 
and antiquated cape is seen on the streets of Pittsfield, although the 
elders of the sect have not appeared there for some years. They keep 
their houses freshly painted, lawns trimmed, and paths carefully 
marked; within their old brick dormitory they guard their precious 
antiques. A small store sells handicraft work to passersby during the 
spring and summer, but otherwise there is a loneliness in the mori- 
bund community. 

From the time of its settlement Hancock itself was a Baptist town 
and most of its inhabitants still adhere to the Baptist faith. The first 
meetinghouse of 1772, in which fifteen members foregathered with 
their pastor. Elder Clark Rogers from Rhode Island, was built of 
logs. The present building was erected in 1850. 

The Shaker village and Hancock town grow ever weaker, while 
the forest with renewed vigor marches forward over fields once 
laboriously cleared. It may be that mountains and trout streams, ski 

56 The Berkshire Hills 

slopes, and hiking trails will bring new blood to revitalize the dying 
Berkshire town. More than half of the Pittsfield State Forest is in 
Hancock. From Pittsfield by the Berry Pond Circuit Road or by a 
foot-trail through the forest from Hancock one reaches the well- 
stocked fishing waters of BERRY POND, the highest body of water 
in the county and an idyllic setting for picnic excursions. 

If the town is eventually abandoned, the tourist of the future may 
pass only a few heaps of timbers on a woodland trail. Already the 
gay Hancock Fair has been given up. No longer is there a proud 
display of prize cattle, a showing of dahliias remarkable for size and 
color, a line of jellies anxiously appraised by rival housewives. No 
more do people gather to feast under the big tent or to admire and 
sample homely breads and cakes. 

Up the long hill from Hancock Center the road leads over Brodie 
Mountain to LANESBOROUGH, the third and largest of the group 
of mountain villages. Compared with New Ashford's population of 
ninety-four and Hancock's 408, Lanesborough with 1237 seems almost 
a metropohs, though beside Pittsfield and North Adams, Lanes- 
borough is a drowsy village. Set upon two hills north of Pittsfield, 
it stands halfway between the silence of the mountains and the 
bustle of the city, and has taken on something of the character of 
both — a New England village on the edge of the torrent of traffic 
which rushes constantly north and south along US 7. Streams of trucks 
crawling up the grades and rushing down prove that all Berkshire 
is not somnolent. Modern industry, supplying food and raiment to 
the outside world, rumbles past quiet hermitages. Today traffic only 
rushes through Lanesborough; in the '8o's it stopped there. 

During the nineteenth century Lanesborough was a prosperous 
mining and manufacturing town. In 1822 it boasted five hotels, three 
tanneries, two hatters, five shoe shops, three tailor shops, a harness 
maker, five blacksmith shops, two cloth dressing and carding factories, 
two wagon makers and repairers, a grinding mill, five sawmills, and 
one shop for making spinning wheels. 

Then iron was discovered. In 1847 the Briggs Iron Company was 
formed to manufacture soft iron. When J. L. Colby took over the 
company in 1864, the manufacture of car- wheel iron was begun. The 
property covered four or five hundred acres of woodland, and two 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 57 

hundred men were employed. In 1885 new owners changed the name 
of the company to the Lanesborough Iron Works. 

Of even greater importance were the marble quarries which by 
1840 supphed the chief product of trade. The marble was of the 
purest white or of interestingly variegated color. In 1842 and 1843 
the industry supplied the rest of the country with more than two 
hundred thousand dollars' worth of its valuable stone. 

Lanesborough sand was used for the manufacture of glass by the 
Berkshire Glass Company. And a host of lesser industries thrived: 
brick ovens, lime kilns, sawmills, and grist mills. 

When the absence of railroad connections made Lanesborough's 
industries less lucrative, change was inevitable. Having relinquished 
its own manufactures, Lanesborough now houses industrial workers 
from neighboring towns. Men from the factories and stores of Pitt^ 
field settle there with their families, but they come, not to work, but 
to live. 

Originally Richfield and later New Framingham, the town adopted 
its present name at the time of incorporation by an act of the General 
Court, June 20, 1765. Tradition has it that a Mr. Lane of England 
promised the community a bell if they would take his name, but the 
bell was never produced. It is also possible that the name may be 
connected with James Lane, Viscount Lanesborough in the Irish 
Peerage, or with the town of Lanesborough in Ireland upon the 
Stiannon River, or derive from the "fact that its six miles square 
adjoining south on Indian Town (Stockbridge) on the Housatonic 
River" lay along a winding lane. The name may even have been a 
tribute to the beautiful Countess of Lanesborough, court favorite, and 
friend of the Royal Governor of Massachusetts. 

Lanesborough has its share of famous men and local celebrities 
in the persons of Josh Billings, Jonathan Smith, "a plain man," as he 
said, Reuben Humphreyville, and Woodbridge Little, the caveman 
Tory. They are remembered, while industrial Lanesborough has now 
lapsed into oblivion. 

In the 1830's Reuben Humphreyville of Lanesborough and Darius 
Mead of Pittsfield furnished central Berkshire with its music for 
dances and other festivities. Humphreyville, who was a famous old- 
time master of the bow and strings, was totally blind, while Mead 
had but one eye, so that it was said that he and his musical partner 

58 The Berkshire Hills 

"had but a single eye between them." Mead played second violin, and 
Humphreyville, besides being first violinist, had the important duty 
of "calHng oflf." Before a dance began, when the sets were ready for 
the music, Humphreyville would cry out "All right, Reuben!" The 
phrase became a catchword that still lives in local lore. So acute of 
hearing was Humphreyville, without whose presence no dancing 
party was a success, that if anybody was out of place in the "sets," 
even in the one most distant from him, he would dress the bunglers 
down. In every hotel and house which he had once visited, he would 
move about with great freedom and ease, hang up his garments, and 
take his place on the dance-hall platform and at the dining table with 
skill astonishing in a sightless man. 

During a dance in the old Eagle Hotel in Dalton, Mead, who 
had a diamond in the end of his fiddle bow, cut the names, "Capt. 
A. S. Chamberlain, Reuben Humphreyville and Darius Mead," on a 
small old-fashioned glass pane. One morning the window pane was 
missing; the putty had been removed from the sash by some one who 
was bound to become possessor of the signatures on the pane by fair 
means or foul. 

Josh Billings was a different sort of entertainer. His home was on 
CONSTITUTION HILL, a neatly rounded elevation about two- 
thirds of a mile from the present Post Office. Although born Henry 
Wheeler Shaw, son of a local dignitary, as a young man he was hard 
pressed to make a living. After a varied career which carried him 
to all parts of the country and into all sorts of occupations from 
farmer to steamboat captain, Shaw settled down as an auctioneer. 
In 1858 he was inspired by Artemus Ward, another "crackerbox 
philosopher" of the time, to use phonetic spelling. Or perhaps he 
may once have had a glimpse of early Lanesborough town records, 
of which this is a sample: 

"Voted, the scool hows should be 28 ft. long, 24 ft. wid and 9 ft.- 

When his Essa on a Muel appeared, he signed the piece "Josh 
Billings." From that moment and for the next twenty-five years, he 
was famous all over England and America as a humorous writer 
and lecturer. 

Berkshire folk, along with the rest of the country, enjoyed his 
homely wit and peculiar spelling. They said he must have missed his 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 59 

fishing when he was down in the city, and it pleased them that he 
remembered the trout pools in New Ashford township. They were 
proud when landlord "Tot" Mallory, who kept the one hotel in 
town, whispered abroad that Josh was "stoppin' off a spell" with 
him. Almost every summer for years, Mallory's little hostelry in the 
shadow of Greylock brightened in the reflected glory of its distin- 
guished visitor. Josh Billings had "come back, b'gosh, t' get a good 
mess o' fish!" 

This small-town wit had an original blend of nonsense and horse 
sense. He was called the "queerest and wisest" of humorists of his 
day, and he made a place for himself in American literature as one 
who was as typically New England as pie for breakfast. Lanesborough 
became known as the home town of a celebrity — Lanesborough, where 
Josh Billings stole apples and raffled off a small boy's treasures, where 
he trudged over the hills and wisecracked on his way to church! 

"Nobody really luvs to be cheated, but it doz seem as tho everyone 
was anxious to see how near they could cum to it." 

"The man who is as kind and courteous to his office boy as he is 
to a millionaire, is a gentleman." 

"2 sta is 2 win." 

These were typical sayings. The last was written in black crayon 
on the wall of a Pittsfield newspaper office when the editor was hav- 
ing hard sledding and was thinking of closing up shop. With "2 sta 
is 2 win" staring down at him, he had no alternative; he stayed and 
coincidentally won. 

A friend once asked the humorist, "How fast does sound travel.?" 

"Wal, it depends a lot on the noise in point," Billings drawled. 
"Now, the sound of a dinner bell, for instance, travels a half mile a 
second, while an invitashun to get up in the mornin', I have known 
to be three-quarters of an hour goin' up two pair of stairs — and then 
not hev strength enough to be heard." 

Lanesborough cherished Josh Billings as much for the memory 
of his childhood pranks as for the philosophical puns and witticisms 
of his later years. There was the time Josh put the cow in the cupola 
of the Pontoosuc Mill in Pittsfield. How he got her there was a mys- 
tery never solved. The men who had to get her out swore the Devil 
must have been his accomplice. 

The old SHAW HOUSE stands near picnic grounds and often 

6o The Berkshire Hills 

it must have been rocked to its foundations by the antics of the 
talented mischief-makers within. The road leading to the Shaws' is 
called Silver Street, because of the legend that counterfeiters once 
made silver pieces in a cave on the w^est side of the hill. Other houses 
along the village street were occupied by the Shaw family at one 
time and another, but the dwelHng on Constitution Hill seems to 
have the aura of Josh Billings about it. 

JOSH BILLINGS' GRAVE is marked with a rough granite 
boulder in the old cemetery in Lanesborough Center. In a recessed 
rectangle, with letters simulating rude twigs, the name stands out in 
bold relief: 


On the top in polished ovals can be read the more conventional in- 
scription : 


Born April 21, 1818. Died Oct. 14, 1885 



Constitution Hill received its name from Jonathan Smith, who 
lived there in 1788. He made himself famous by a single speech when 
the Massachusetts Convention assembled to consider whether they 
should or should not adopt the Federal Constitution. After hours of 
argument and highflown oratory, Jonathan Smith of Lanesborough 
rose to his feet. "I am a plain man and get my living by the plow." 
Plain John Smith knew what he thought and wasn't afraid to 
speak out. 

I am not used to speak in public, but I beg your leave to say a few 
words ... I have lived in a part of the country where I have known the 
worth of good government by the want of it . . . The Constitution, I 
found, was a cure for these disorders. It was just such a thing as we 
wanted. I got a copy of it and read it over and over ... I did not go to 
any lawyer to ask his opinions; we have no lavi7er in our town, and we 
do well enough without . . . 

Brother farmers, let us suppose a case now . . . Suppose two or three 
of you have been at the pains to break up a piece of rough land, and sow it 

Oil Lamps and Ballots 6i 

with wheat; would you let it lie waste, because you could not agree what 
sort of a fence to make? Would it not be better to put up a fence that did 
not please everyone's fancy, rather than not fence it at all, or keep disputing 
about it until wild beasts came and devoured it ... I say take things in 
time, gather fruit when it is ripe. There is a time to sow and time to reap. 
We sowed our seed when we sent men to the Federal Convention; now 
it is the harvest — now is the time to reap the fruit of our labor, and if we 
don't do it now, I am afraid that we never shall have another oppor- 
tunity. . . . 

There was another Lanesborough man who wasn't afraid to say 
what he thought, although he considered it his privilege to change 
his mind. Before the Revolution broke out, Woodbridge Little settled 
in Lanesborough to practice law. In wartime he refused to keep his 
Tory sympathies to himself. As a result the Committee of Safety 
advertised for him in the Hartford Courant as a "Wanted Man." 
Little fled to a marble cave in Lanesborough. This "Diamond Cave 
at the base of the Taconics," as it was then called, is today northwest 
from the village center, along a narrow, rutty road not too good 
for low-slung cars; it lies beyond the abandoned ore beds where for- 
merly there was a mining settlement. The tiny village has vanished, 
save for a few piles of stones, a grassy mound of earth, and a rotted 
bridge. Only the marble cave is left, under the north shoulder of 
Laurel Hill, concealed from casual inspection by underbrush. In 
"COON HOLLOW CAVE," as Lanesborough now calls it. Wood- 
bridge Little existed for many days and nights. His food was brought 
by friends and neighbors, for aside from his Tory sentiments he was 
a popular man. Later, he completely changed his convictions, emerged 
from the cave, and enlisted on the side of the Colonists to fight at 
Bennington in Lieutenant Hubbard's company. 

There are more accessible caves in the limestone and marble ter- 
rain outside Lanesborough. Off US 7 in the northern section of the 
town is DISAPPEARING BROOK, where visitors can watch a 
stream vanish underground and reappear four times within a mile. 
Mysterious caverns and passageways have been discovered in the 
surrounding countryside — one of them a tunnel of white marble some 
140 feet in length. The tunnel opens from an abandoned quarry 
which once supplied marble of a superior grade for the Capitol at 


62 The Berkshire Hills 

Near the caves, in the wastelands of the quarry, is BROWN'S 
BOULDER, with an inscription to recall the Brown-Barker romance. 
Although she was a village belle, Susan Barker never married, but 
not for lack of chances. At the age of eighty, she saw no reason for 
abandoning comfortable spinsterhood to wed Captain Brown. This 
seventy-year-old swain, who had waited patiently for many years, 
suddenly became insistent, and so Miss Susie handed him his "walking 
papers." The captain, despondent and perhaps a little vengeful, retired 
to the pasture with a mason's chisel and for the attention of the 
Almighty and such others as might be interested scratched these lines: 







In this same northern section of the town, close by the spot where 
Rockwell Road leads off US 7 to Greylock, stands the old brown 
BRADLEY HOUSE, known for the last century and a half as "Brit- 
ish Headquarters." When Burgoyne's soldiers were marching through 
the Berkshires after their defeat at the Battle of Saratoga (1777), they 
stopped for a night in Lanesborough and the quartermaster of a 
Hessian regiment was billeted at the house. Deciding to pay a call 
on some Tory ladies, he took the precaution to hide in the great brick 
oven of his billet a bag of gold entrusted to him. When he returned, 
the bag had vanished, and not a single coin has ever turned up, 
even to this day. 

A part of Cheshire was once included in Lanesborough. An electric 
railway between Lanesborough and Cheshire ran along what is now 
the macadam road out of Lanesborough Center over the hill past 
the red-brick Baptist Church. The hill forms the dividing line between 
the Housatonic and the Hoosac Valleys. From its top, the Indian 
Pontoosuck Trail led out of the Housatonic Valley to join the Mo- 
hawk Trail in North Adams. The road runs toward Greylock, the 
mountain looming in full view for the greater part of the way. 

Besides caves and underground passageways Lanesborough has 

oil Lamps and Ballots 63 

another geological curiosity. About a mile west of US 7, on a country 
road that follows the north shore of Poijitoosuc Lake, is BALANCE 
ROCK PARK, where the amazing Balance Rock occupies a promi- 
nent position among other curious boulders deposited by the glaciers 
of prehistoric times. Some of the most prominent have been called 
Split Rock, Cross Rock, and Elephant Rock. An Indian legend ex- 
plains these errant boulders in the hillside pasture as the playthings 
of an Iroquois champion who tossed them there to show some 
Mahican youths how to play quoits. Beyond the park, POTTER 
MOUNTAIN, shared by Lanesborough and Hancock, keeps westerly 
guard over the town. A steep road between its tv/in peaks crosses 
close to the site of the lonely farmhouse owned by the Potters who 
gave the mountain its name. The highest peak is 2400 feet above sea 
level and the southern summit is now a part of the Pittsfield State 
Forest. From its high-flung crest the hills of New York roll away 
to the west; on a clear day, the Battle Monument in old Bennington 
is visible through binoculars; and the shadowed Housatonic Valley 
stretches out on the east toward Pittsfield. 

Chapter IV 


PITTSFIELD— US 20, US 7, Mass 8, Mass 9, sett. 1752, alt. 1038, pop. 

Roads — US 7 runs from Lanesborough to Pittsfield. 

One fine fall evening a genial landlord coined a phrase that best suits 
this shire town of the westernmost reaches of Massachusetts. Standing 
on the broad flagstone step that led to the principal tavern of the 
litde village of Pontoosuc, one day to be called Pittsfield, mine host 
flung a greeting into the night: 

"Welcome! Welcome, traveler! Welcome to the Heart of the 

To assimilate the atmosphere of PITTSFIELD most successfully, 
or, better yet, to identify the city's past with its present, you will do 
well to seek the roots of Pittsfield life in CITY HALL PARK. Journey- 
ing into the town on any of the main highways, you come directly to 
the central green or "oval," formed at the junction of the four main 
streets — the compass-named thoroughfares, North, South, East, and 
West Streets. Here Pittsfield tells its story in bronze and stone. 

There is the tale of Isabel Walton and the Old Elm, since replaced 
by a SUN DIAL. Savage Indian captors had bound Isabel at the 
foot of the Old Elm, and timber lay heaped about her ready for 
lighting. The band of redskins was on a triumphal journey home 
from a scalp and captive-grabbing orgy in the Connecticut Valley, 
and the fair Isabel was unquestionably an encumbrance to the expedi- 
tion. But just as the fire was to be struck, a young and, of course, 
handsome French lieutenant, Pierre Lanaudiniere by name, swooped 
down from St. Francis, a French fort bordering the Colonies, and 
saved the trembling victim's life. He took her off with him to Mon- 
treal, where they were married. 


Metropolis in the Heart of the Berkjhires 65 

Just why this Frenchman leaped from his charger at such an oppor- 
tune instant and dashed away with Isabel without bearing off her 
father too (who, it is recorded, was among the captives) is not for 
posterity to ask. Let it be content with the thought of Isabel safely 
ensconced in her Canadian home, learning her hero's language, 
patiently darning his socks, and perhaps thinking occasionally of the 
Old Elm. 

Because of marauding bands of Indians during the French and 
Indian wars — savages who were in nowise related to the friendly 
Stockbridge Indians of the county — settlement of Pontoosuc planta- 
tion and the rest of western Massachusetts was long delayed. In 1736 
Colonel Jacob Wendell, ancestor of the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
had paid the town of Boston ;C^3^® ^^^ ^ trsiCt of land six miles 
square in the heart of the Berkshires. But it was not until 1752 that 
a brave man — throwing aside discretion and casting ofl the fear of 
the Indians which possessed pioneers in the wake of the Connecticut 
River atrocities — came riding from the east of Pontoosuc. 

It was Solomon Deming who first hacked his way through the 
dark forests from Wethersfield, Connecticut, to establish his rooftree 
in the Berkshire wilderness. And with him came Sarah, his wife, 
transporting the utensils of her former home into this wild, albeit 
beautiful, territory, where fierce men and beasts waited for her de- 

Some distance east of the Old Elm the man chose a place for his 
house, after first ascertaining that the Indians whose wigwams dotted 
the burned-out clearing in the nearby woods were of a friendly dis- 
position. These redskins were Mahicans, whose brethren were singing 
hymns and offering Christian prayers at the Indian mission in Stock- 

Today, if you drive out from the Park along East Street, branch- 
ing to the right on Elm, you will come to an old white frame house 
(847 Elm Street). Attached to this house, which is known as Wells' 
tains some of the original timber hewn by the axe of the first pioneer. 
Within the rude shelter made from these timbers, Dorothy Deming, 
the first white child in Pontoosuc, was born. 

Later in the same year, Nathaniel Fairfield and his young bride 
bumped over the mountains from Westfield, Connecticut, traveling 


The Berkshire Hills 

in an ox cart and taking three days for the journey. Following soon 
after, Charles Goodrich brought the first cart and team of horses 
into the plantation, cutting his way for miles through the thick woods 

Points of Interest 

1 Bulfmch Church 

2 General Electric Co. 
J City Hall Pork 

4 Site of Allen Home 

5 AthcnMum 

6 County Court House 

7 Peace Party House 

8 First Town Houje 

9 Museum 

10 Brattle Houst 

11 Well's Tavirp 
\2 Holmsdale 

13 Arrowhead 
l4Pittsfield County Club 
liSouth Mountain 
l6 0nofaLakc and Burbank Park* 
l7Pittjficld State Forest* 
18 Lake Pontoosuc* 
1 9 Government Mill 
*SeeP,ttsfield Recreation M 


6cai< in MIUs 

from the same town of Wethersfield. Some of the early settlers built 
their homes near the center, others out toward the east, near where 
the Boston and Albany Railroad now thunders over the Housatonic 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Ber\shires 67 

River. Fort Anson was erected on the small hill south of West Street 
at the southern end of Onota Lake, the shining "Big Sea Water" of 
the Mahicans. Serving a double purpose as fort and tavern, it became 
the gathering place for settlers, friendly Indians, and passing soldiers, 
and a block house for refuge and defense when plundering bands of 
Mohawks came skulking over the Long Trail. 

After the Demings and Fairfields came William Bratde, who 
hewed out the corner posts for a most imposing dwelling. The over- 
hanging stories of the BRATTLE HOUSE are to be seen not far 
from Well's Tavern, near the junction of William and Elm Streets, 
just as they were when Brattle laid his timber upon a foundation 
of rough field stone. The boards of the house are said to have been 
cut entirely from a single primeval giant growing on the homestead 
lands. It is a great roomy red clapboarded dwelling set on a knoll 
among old trees. 

By September, 1753, there were enough settlers in the area to hold 
a meeting and talk of incorporation. Aroused by the need for a 
permanent civic center and a real church, the settlers of Pontoosuc 
chose a site on the high plot of land where the Old Elm stood. The 
lot was cleared of trees and underbrush to make way for the little 
church, but by some chance the Old Elm remained unscathed. 

Pittsfield was named for the statesman William Pitt, its natal day 
coinciding with that same April day in 1761 when Berkshire and 
Hampshire became separate counties. Meantime the frame of a church 
was erected; rather a gaunt, lonely frame, since for some seven or 
eight years the building itself was not completed. Nevertheless, services 
were held there and the settlers spake their Ayes and Nays at town 
meetings, until in 1770 it was "accepted as it stood," being thirty-five 
by forty-five feet, two stories high, belfry-less and without ornamen- 
tation. * 

In 1764 the Reverend Thomas Allen, who was to play a domi- 
nant part in the early life of the town, settled as the first minister. 
The residents of the tiny village were beginning to talk of "laying 
out streets," as befitted the new dignity of their community. It was 
agreed that Captain Charles Goodrich, the highway surveyor, would 
soon start measuring off paths on which people could walk. Care- 
fully drawing the lines of East Street around the Old Elm, he left 
it standing there at the side of the church. Among all those deter- 

68 The Berkshire Hills 

mined New England surveyors who "much preferred to dimb a hill 
instead of going round," luck had it that there was one man willing 
to deviate from the straight pathway. 

Under the spreading branches of the Old Elm soldiers were mus- 
tered in and mustered out. They met here in anxious groups, mut- 
tered excitedly, and marched off to fight the French and the Indians. 
They gathered again at the news from Concord and Lexington and, 
in response to the call, "To Arms! To Arms!" marched off to meet 
the British, with "Fighting Parson Allen" riding in a gig at their head. 

Later Allen accompanied the "Berkshire Boys" to the Batde of 
Bennington. His prayer is said to have inspired the soldiers, and 
some of the success of the day is credited to his vigorous appeal that 
"the God of armies will teach their hand to war and their fingers to 

When in 1790 a new church was needed to replace the old frame 
on the high mound, one Colonel Charles Bulfinch of Boston was 
engaged to design the building. But alas and alack, plans for the 
edifice called for it to rise upon the site of the Old Elm tree. 

Axemen arrived and began to gauge the proper spot for the first 
blow . . . 

"Wait! Ah, good gentlemen, wait!" 

Deftly pushing the men aside, Lucretia Williams thrust herself 
between the sturdy trunk of the Elm and the men's bloodthirsty axes. 
"Don't cut it down!" she pleaded, "Oh, if only . . ." 

At that moment good husband John Chandler Williams, possibly 
anticipating his Lucretia's "if only," appeared on the scene and after 
sufficient inquiry swapped the town a square of his own front yard 
for the ground on which the Elm stood. 

Services in the BULFINCH CHURCH (1793) were suspended 
in 1 85 1 and the building itself was dragged away from its home in 
City Hall Park to the corner of North Street and Maplewood Avenue. 
You can stUl distinguish the charm and dignity of line and proportion 
characteristic of a Bulfinch building, although the old church now 
looks as if a strong wind would tear it apart. Colonel Bulfinch, it will 
be recalled, designed Faneuil Hall and the State House at Boston 
and the Capitol at Washington. A building that was a Bulfinch 
was a building to be proud of. Mulberry tones in the handmade 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Ber\shires 69 

bricks; Georgian touches and the use of soUd San Domingo mahogany; 
and the graceful steeples so typical of the Colonel's style. 

John Chandler Williams, husband of the brave Lucretia (history 
calls her "doughty"), was something of a personage in Pittsfield dur- 
ing the halcyon days of the Elm's hardy middle-age. The son of a 
well-known Bedford family of depleted means, young John came 
to the Berkshires to seek his fortune. Appointed deputy sheriff of 
Pittsfield at the age of eighteen, he gave up his job to enter Harvard 
College. A studious, hardworking man, he wrote at one time that 
during the course of fourteen years he had been absent from public 
worship but two half days. As a result of his virtuous ways, perhaps, 
he came to be a lawyer and a property owner in Pittsfield — a substan- 
tial businessman who estabUshed himself and his Lucretia in a gam- 
brel-roofed mansion erected by Colonel James Easton on the southwest 
corner of East Street and what is now Wendell Avenue, the site of the 
present COUNTY COURT HOUSE. First known as the "WilHams' 
Long House," in later years it was called "Peace Party House." 

Today, the old PEACE PARTY HOUSE is located on the south- 
east corner of East Street and Wendell Avenue, where it was moved 
intact in 1869. Many memories cluster around the old house; memories 
of strong-minded Lucretia, who to the end of her days professed loy- 
alty to the English King and spoke of the Revolution as "the Re- 
bellion;" memories of that eventful evening in 1783 when, with much 
dancing and singing and shouts of "Hurrah! Hurrah! God save the 
Colonies and General Washington!" the signing of the Peace Treaty 
with Great Britain (the Treaty of Paris) was celebrated. 

There were great platters of goose and turkey that night, and half 
an ox, roasted to a turn. Rum, punch, wine, and cider flowed so 
freely that the Yankees who gathered from the towns round about 
might as well have been signing the treaty themselves, to see them 
carry on. Ladies came from far and near, mounted on their pillions. 
There were speeches and more speeches, rousing songs and cheers as 
the liquor flowed free and fast, and in the center of this brilliant 
gathering was Lucretia, daughter of Israel Williams, noted Tory, and 
wife of John Williams, ardent Patriot. 

In 1864 they ultimately had to cut the Old Elm down. It had 
been struck by lightning. Struck more than once, too. It began to 
bend over toward the ground and folks were afraid it might fall on 

70 The Berkshire Hills 

someone and kill him. And so the men came and axes began to ring. 
Contemporaries have described the scene; people weeping and holding 
out their hands for a chip or a twig of the tree they'd all grown up 

Herman Melville, who lived in Pittsfield during the last years of 
the scarred elm, described the tree in his portrait of Captain Ahab in 
Moby Dic\. 

Threading its way out from among his gray hairs, and continuing 
straight down on either side his face . . . you saw a slender . . . mark, 
lividly whitish. It resembled that perpendicular seam sometimes made 
in the straight lofty trunk of a great tree, when the upper lightning tear- 
ingly darts down it, and without wrenching a single twig, pulls and 
grooves out the bark, from top to bottom, ere running off into the soil, 
leaving the tree still greenly alive, but branded . . . 

It was to be expected that Crazy Sue Dunham, the Berkshire 
wandering hag, would somehow get involved with the Old Elm. On 
one occasion, as a group of school girls were passing along the village 
green. Sue darted out from under the shade of the tree. Mysteriously 
she bade each of them kneel on the ground before the Elm, first 
instructing them to deposit their lunch pails in a pile at their backs. 
She was going away for a few moments, she assured them, but on 
her return she would conduct some sort of a "service" for their benefit. 
The moments sped by. She did not return. The girls' knees grew 
weak but they waited, entranced by the thought that they were to be 
initiated in some mystic rite of which "Crazy Sue" was high priestess. 
If they waited long enough, would they hear voices and see strange 
sights? Hearing no voices, neither Sue's nor any other, the girls 
finally arose. By this time their legs wabbled absurdly. Suddenly one 
of them shrieked, "Girls! Oh, girls, where are our dinner pails?" The 
dinner pails had vanished, and Sue was nowhere to be seen. Another 
account relates that when the girls discovered Sue in the act of steal- 
ing the dinner pails she piously exclaimed, "Children, the Good Book 
says that you should watch as well as pray." 

The second house east of the Peace Party House is the FIRST 
TOWN HOUSE, erected in 1766, which, like so many of Pittsfield's 
old houses, has been moved from its original site. Back in 1825, 
General Lafayette popped his head out of one of the upper windows 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Ber\shires 71 

and delivered an address to the populace assembled below. Later, the 
building served as a schoolhouse. Gready remodeled and changed, it 
is now a private residence. 

Diagonally across East Street from Peace Party House is a brick 
business block with a tablet on its front to indicate the SITE OF 
PARSON THOMAS ALLEN'S HOME. From 1764, when the 
Parson came to Pittsfield as its first minister, until 1914, a member 
of the Allen family always lived there. "Fighting Parson Allen" ruled 
Pittsfield with a religious hand for almost half a century, fired a mus- 
ket at the Battle of Bennington, acted as army chaplain during the 
Revolution, gave money without stint to the impoverished colonies, 
and left scions who made their mark in Pittsfield and Berkshire. 

On the north side of the Park, between the Congregational and 
Episcopal Churches, stands the yellow brick CITY HALL, built in 

From 1823 to 1868 Pittsfield was the seat of a medical school 
called the Berkshire or the Pittsfield Medical College. On January 
14, 1823, the school was given both a charter and a grant of $5000 
by the General Court of Massachusetts, despite much opposition, espe- 
cially on the part of Harvard College. When first organized there 
was some dismay among the inhabitants of Berkshire County because 
no legal provision had been made by which medical students could 
obtain cadavers for dissection. Forays into neighboring cemeteries 
constandy roused Pittsfield folk, and there was a horrified outcry 
whenever a new grave was violated. In his American Notebook 
Hawthorne made the macabre observation: 

It is the custom in this part of the country — and perhaps extensively 
in the interior of New England — to bury the dead first in a charnel-house, 
or common tomb; where they remain till decay has so far progressed as 
to secure them from the resurrectionists. They are then reburied, with 
certain ceremonies, in their own peculiar graves. 

The "resurrectionists," those who robbed graves to get cadavers for 
dissection, plied their gruesome trade until in 1830 more stringent 
laws put an end to the practice. 

Lectures were first delivered in a section of the old Pittsfield 
Hotel, in whose stable on a corner of Parson Allen's lot a laboratory 
was opened in 1824. As years passed, the college expanded into several 

72 The Berkshire Hills 

buildings and the Pittsfield Hotel was converted into a dormitory. 
In 1868, when the college was finally closed, the building was pur- 
chased by the city for ordinary school purposes. 

During the forty-five years of its existence, 1138 students gradu- 
ated from Berkshire Medical College. It never was properly self- 
supporting and seemed always on the verge of being abandoned, 
but it played an important part in furnishing Berkshire with well- 
trained physicians. 

Next to the County Court House is die BERKSHIRE ATHE- 
NAEUM, a reminder of the era when American architecture was 
dominated by the Victorian Gothic movement. In 1871, the Athenaeum 
trustees were incorporated "for the purpose of establishing and main- 
taining in the town of Pittsfield an institution to aid in promoting 
education, culture, and refinement." A library, reading-room, lectures, 
museums and cabinets of art and of historical and natural curiosities 
were put at public disposal. 

Around the corner on South Street is the MUSEUM OF NATU- 
RAL HISTORY AND ART, a gift of Zenas Crane, the papermaker. 
The building is on the site of Easton's Tavern, in which the Battle 
of Ticonderoga was planned. Among the treasures of Americana, 
one is delighted to see the famous old "one-hoss shay" which belonged 
to Jacob Wendell, great-grandfather of the poet, Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, who wrote so amusingly of the vehicle in The Deacon's 
Masterpiece. Expecting to find but a heap of dust, one is rather sur- 
prised to see the old chaise in pretty fair condition, although Holmes 
told us: 

What do you think the parson found. 
When he got up and stared around? 
The poor old chaise in a heap or mound, 
As if it had been to the mill and ground! 

Alas for legend, the desk (also in the Natural History Building) 
whereon Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The House of the Seven Gables 
shows no holes worn by the author's elbows. Nor do the two sledges 
used by Peary on his trip to the North Pole bear teeth marks where 
his hungry dogs are supposed to have "chawed" at the sides. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1849 built a house at Canoe Meadows, 
part of the Wendell family acreage. Here he spent his vacations till 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Berkjhires 73 

1856. In his Autocrat of the BreaJ^jast Table, he writes of his Pitts- 
field years as "seven blessed summers . . . which stand out in memory 
like the seven gold candlesticks in the beautiful dream of the holy 

The part of Canoe Meadows surrounding the Holmes estate is 
out East Street from City Hall Park, then right on Pomeroy Avenue. 
Just beyond the confluence of Pomeroy Avenue and Holmes Road is 
HOLMESDALE, as the place is now called. 

At the Berkshire Jubilee, 1844, the doctor described his home at 
Canoe Meadows as a "mansion . . . surrounded by a beautiful meadow, 
through which the winding river made its way in a thousand grace- 
ful curves." The brown house and windmill are standing much as 
Dr. Holmes left them, but they are almost completely screened from 
the road by trees. Holmes once said: 

I have one pleasant remembrance about my old place . . . that I, in 
a sense, created it. The trees about are all of my planting. How much 
better I have deserved the gratitude of posterity than the imbecile who 
only accomplished a single extra blade of grass. 

Across the road from Holmesdale is a hill, once the poet's favorite 
writing nook, now the site of a girls' school. Here he could gaze upon 
the scene which he described in his poem, "The Ploughman," written 
for the agricultural fair of 1849. 

About a mile beyond Holmesdale at the top of a hill is the house 
where Herman Melville lived from 1850 to 1863. A spacious gambrel- 
roofed farmhouse with a tremendous chimney, ARROWHEAD looks 
toward Greylock twenty miles away. As Melville wrote in his Piazza 

The house is old. Seventy years since it was built . . . Whoever built 
the house builded better than he knew or else Orion in the zenith flashed 
down his Damocles sword to him some starry night and said, "Build 
there;" for how else could it have entered the builder's mind that upon 
the clearing being made, such a purple prospect would be his? Nothing 
less than Greylock with all his hills around him like Charlemagne among 
his peers appears before me. 

Melville was in many respects the counterpart of Hawthorne. 
The "dark, mysterious elements" in the two young authors made a 

74 The Berkshire Hills 

bond between them while they were in Berkshire — Melville at Pitts- 
field, and Hawthorne at Tanglewood, near the boundary of Lenox 
and Stockbridge. Melville, the shy, unassuming man whose perplex- 
ities were misunderstood by the complacent Victorian generation in 
which he lived, had sought the answer to his quests in a hfe of 
adventure and danger. Lost in a valley of the Marquesa Islands of 
the South Pacific when only a boy — Tahiti and Hawaii when these 
islands were little known — cannibals — fights — escapes. He knew terror 
and brutality and despair. 

After his adventures at sea Melville returned to Boston in 1844, 
wrote Typee, a volume of travel and romance, and found himself a 
"hero over night." The South Sea beauties, now commonplaces of the 
movies, were first made known to the reading public in his book. 
Melville was twenty-six at the time. Five years later, he removed to 
Pittsfield, but there life was rarely free of domestic tribulation. Money 
was never plentiful, his wife was a failure at housekeeping, and 
several relatives who live'd with him put an extra strain on the family 
pocketbook. While bound to the duty of providing for his household, 
Melville's mind constantly turned back to his years of wandering. 
He began, as he told Hawthorne, "patching and tinkering around 
in all directions" in order to recapture the spell of those days. Nos- 
talgic passages abound — "The first peep of a strange house rising 
beyond the trees is for all the world like spying, in the Barbary coast, 
an unknown sail." Melville never for a moment forgot his beloved 
sea. "The blown down" of dandeHons gone to seed seemed to him 
"wafted like spray," and the haze over the Berkshires was "just the 
purple of the billows." 

My Chimney and I, Piazza Tales, and October Mountain were 
written in this period. Here he wrote the most famous of all his 
works and possibly the most important American novel, Moby Dic\. 
It made him a celebrity and freed him for a short time from constant 
drudgery. But his conservative, "proper" Victorian generation had 
so litde interest in his later works, labeled "obscure," that at the time 
of his death, the newspapers of the country had to dig deep into 
their files to find out just who he was. Unlike Dr. Holmes, one of the 
leading spirits in Pittsfield's social life, Melville was content to rus- 
ticate on his farm. Holmes seems to have attended all the parties, 
dances, and picnics that were given, for he was gay and fond of 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Ber\shires 75 

company — a contrast to Melville, who was happy to sit "Canute-like, 
watching the long ground swells roll the slanting grain and little 
wavelets of the grass ripple over the low piazza as they beach . . ." 
During the years that Holmes and Melville were in Pittsfield, the 
Berkshires were a center for many of the leading personages of the 
day. Catherine Sedgwick, the author, and Fanny Kemble, the actress, 
were living in Lenox and Hawthorne at Stockbridge. The poet 
Longfellow first came to Pittsfield "a-wooing bent" to court Frances 
Appleton, who lived with her grandfather, Thomas Gold, in a home 
that has recently been razed. During Longfellow's honeymoon here in 
1843, the poet noticed at the head of a broad flight of stairs an old 
clock which inspired a poem, finally written in 1845 — 

Somewhat back from the village street 
Stands the old-fashioned country-seat. 
Across its antique portico 
Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw; 
And from its station in the hall 
An ancient timepiece says to all, — 
"Forever — never ! 
Never — forever!" 

The Gold-Appleton mansion was thereafter known as the "House 
of the Old Clock." 

In 1849 Longfellow spent many months in Pittsfield writing his 
novel Kavanagh, which, like Holmes's Elsie Venner, vaguely reflects 
contemporary life in the town. The Longfellows stopped at historic 
BROAD HALL, which may be reached by continuing southward 
from Arrowhead, by way of Holmes Road, through pine woods to 
the main highway. Turn sharply to the right onto the highway (US 7 
and US 20) leading northward to the Park. About two miles beyond 
the turn is the handsome Dutch Colonial mansion of the PITTS- 
FIELD COUNTRY CLUB. Broad Hall, as it was called at the height 
of its fame, was built in 1781 by Henry Van Schaack, formerly post- 
master of the city of Albany and a prominent business man there. 
During the lifetime of the first owner the house had many distin- 
guished visitors — John Jay, Fisher Ames, Bushrod Washington, Oliver 
Wolcott, Stephen Van Rensselaer. In 1775 Van Schaack had with- 
drawn from public office and declared himself a royalist. He had 

76 The Berkshire Hills 

decided that the contest with the mother country "was carried on 
with too much acrimony" and that "the Congress of 1774 had left 
no back door open for reconciUation." His attitude caused the Com- 
mittee of Correspondence in Albany to ask him to withdraw to some 
place in Massachusetts or Connecticut. He tried Richmond and Stock- 
bridge only to be refused, but finally found refuge in Pittsfield. From 
here he watched affairs in the colonies with great interest, holding 
aloof from the strife. A sincere lover of America, he was nevertheless 
firm in his belief that it was ill-advised for the colonies to withdraw 
from England. After the war his act of banishment was revoked and 
General Schuyler invited him to return to New York. Instead he 
became a citizen of Massachusetts, telling his brother: 

So perfectly am I satisfied with the manners, customs and laws of the 
Commonwealth that I would not exchange them for any other I know 
in the world. Beggar and vagrant we are strangers to, as well as over- 
bearing, purse proud scoundrel . . . Murder, robberies and burglaries are 
scarcely heard of in this country ... If any of your friends wish to 
migrate . . . you may assure them land is good and cheap in Berkshire . . . 
I have never lived among a more civil and obliging people ... A purse 
hung up in the public streets would be as safe from our inhabitants as 
it used to be in King Alfred's time . . . 

In the Van Schaack house the first domestic rag carpet manu- 
factured in the Berkshires is said to have been produced by a group 
of Shakers, under the direction of Mrs. Van Schaack. It was later 
sent to Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, and was 
"immediately placed in the committee room of the House of Repre- 
sentatives among the collection of specimens of American manu- 
facture transmitted to the Treasury from several of the states." 

Elkanah Watson, the sheep-fancier, was the next resident of Broad 
Hall; he lived there from 1807 until 18 16, when he returned to 
Albany and sold the house to Major Thomas Melville, uncle of 
Herman Melville. Thomas Melville was a polished, suave man of 
the world with something of the beau about him; his wife, a lovely, 
vivacious French woman. Young Herman Melville, who occasionally 
visited his uncle's home, was fascinated by the famous literary men 
of the time who moved along the massive staircase of Broad Hall 
and through its spacious rooms. 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Ber\shires 77 

There was Nathaniel Hawthorne, reserved and shy, he with "the 
smell of beeches and hemlocks" upon him and the "broad prairies" 
in his soul. And there was Longfellow, tall and lank, peering out 
at the blossoming countryside; stooping to pat the moss at his feet; 
standing in rapture before the tiny lakelet called Morewood Lake, 
and jotting down in his notebook "Tear of Heaven." Charles Sumner 
was a frequent visitor to Broad Hall, and it was probably due to 
his influence that its ample cellar became one of the depots for the 
"Underground Railroad" of the fleeing Negro slaves. Among its apple 
and potato bins there were vaults and passageways where trembling 
human flesh lay in concealment. 

SOUTH MOUNTAIN lies south along the highway (US 7 and 
US 20) from Broad Hall, and here on the Coolidge estate the Berk- 
shire Festival of Chamber Music gives its summer concerts by famous 
string ensembles. The magnificent enterprise is almost entirely the 
accomplishment of Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, whose part in 
it has been inadequately described as adding to "the fine art of the 
composer and the fine art of the performer, the fine art of paying the 
bill." If you want a good view of Pittsfield and its environs, go up 
to the summit of South Mountain. From here the whole city lies at 
your feet — rows of small houses, church spires among the trees, the 
tall General Electric chimneys, the sparkle of lakes, and in the dis- 
tance on all sides — the mountains. 

Pittsfield is now, as it has been for many years, a "Saturday city," 
for on that day out-of-towners mingle with out-of-staters to suggest 
a thickly populated metropolis. In the '90's, on a Saturday afternoon 
or evening, a stranger in town would have seen rows of horses tied 
to the wooden railings encircling the Park. Even today, there appears 
an occasional ancient buggy, a "Democrat" wagon, or a phaeton 
hauled by a moth-eaten mare. In the back of the phaeton a market 
basket and the inevitable vinegar jug jostle dangerously against the 
iron weight used for tethering in some back alley or side street. When 
horse and wagon are secure, the driver and his lady, in all the finery 
of the '90's, make their weekly round of the "red front" stores and 
the "big city" markets. 

Such anachronisms are, to be sure, becoming less frequent every 
year. Modern fashion has penetrated the forests, crept along the nar- 

78 The Berkshire Hills 

row roads, and reached the outlying hamlets and remote farmhouses. 
Nowadays the younger generation comes in from the hills for Satur- 
day shopping in the latest summer suits and print dresses, driving 
newly-painted second-hand cars. The young girl from far back in 
the hills will be dressed in a sun-back frock, sheer hosiery, and bright- 
colored sandals. Only the lady from one of the pretentious estates 
in Lenox is likely to appear in flat heels, cotton stockings, and a 
knitted dress. 

On circus day in Pittsfield you will see the rare picture of a 
genuine hill-billy Berkshire family. This one day in the year the 
hill dwellers descend into town to congregate on street corners and 
wait for the free parade. They are all there — from squalling infants 
in arms and small boys uncomfortable in tight shoes to housewives 
in homemade garments, unrecognizable as to style or year of make. 
Many a group has its bearded grandfather who needs only a scythe to 
complete the illusion that he is Father Time in person. 

Circus day is part of the social life that Pittsfield offers to its 
suburban neighbors. Just as the city's Saturday shopping day is not 
exclusively its own, so its whole social and cultural life is open to 
the surrounding region. Residents of nearby towns and visitors to 
Berkshire attend the city concerts together, subscribe to lectures and 
musical courses, become members of up-to-the-minute clubs, and join 
the various political and charitable groups. The American Institute 
of Electrical Engineers, Pittsfield Section, sponsors a popular-priced 
lecture course during the winter months. A Women's Club, with a 
large membership and a progressive program, a branch of the League 
of Women Voters, a Garden Club, and similar organizations appeal 
to many tastes. The Pittsfield Town Players, an amateur group organ- 
ized in 1920, produce excellent drama in the winter season, not only 
in the city but in neighboring communities. The Berkshire Musical 
Association, the Pittsfield Symphony Orchestra, and the Stanley Club 
Junior Symphony Orchestra, whose members are under eighteen, 
contribute high service to the musical life of the community. The 
Pittsfield Community Concerts Association brings three artists of 
national musical reputation to town every winter. And throughout 
America, Pittsfield is known for the South Mountain concerts of the 
Berkshire Festival of Chamber Music. 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Berkjhires 79 

Twenty-three years ago Edward Boltwood, Pittsfield historian, 
described the beginning of a change that was to transform Pittsfield 
from an inconspicuous, inland town to a modern industrial city: 

Pittsfield is no longer the quiet, dullish, somewhat dingy village that 
some of us remember it, standing with Yankee reserve in the midst of 
fine scenery, where it seemed a little out of place. It has become of late 
years a bustling, ambitious . . . town . . . with fine public buildings, 
parks and fountains and an abundance of "carriage people." The streets and 
squares look less like a New England village than like the fast-growing 
cities of the West. 

The entire complexion of the city was altered by the establish- 
ment in 1907 of the huge GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, 
northeast of the Park past Silver Lake. As soon as it opened, the city's 
early isolation was shattered by the new needs and technique of 
industry. The development attracted capital, which in turn greatly 
expanded the city's trade and commerce. A building boom resulted 
and census figures multiplied. In the first ten years of the twentieth 
century, the population jumped forty-seven per cent, an increase 
in the State second only to that of New Bedford. Pittsfield took 
a century and a half to acquire a population of 25,000 and then almost 
doubled the number in less than thirty years. 

As a natural consequence, Pittsfield has large segments, not of 
"Berkshire Borners," but of newcomers mingling with the older 
Yankee and Irish stocks. Today, Pittsfield is a compound of Italians, 
French, Poles, and Germans, with some Jews, Armenians, Greeks, 
Lithuanians, and Negroes. Each group retains to some extent its own 
religious and social customs, though the leveling influence of common 
interest has drawn them together. 

Pittsfield has been called "The City of Artisans." The metal trades 
attracted a group of skilled workmen earlier in the history of the 
town. Their presence, in fact, was a good reason for the establish- 
ment here of the General Electric Company, manufacturers of machin- 
ery for the transmission and distribution of electricity. And the rather 
favorable economic position of thousands of trained workers has had 
its effect upon the appearance of the city. Pittsfield's streets are broad 
and clean, and the houses, most of them single-family dwellings, are 
neatly set among lawns and gardens. The large number of public 

8o The Berkshire Hills 

buildings gives the visitor an impression of a thriving city, for Pitts- 
field has indeed become the "Metropolis of the Berkshires." 

The General Electric Company located a plant in Pittsfield because 
of earlier efforts of William Stanley, of Berkshire stock himself, in 
making alternating current commercially possible by inventing the 
electric transformer. Four years after Stanley had given light to stores 
in Great Barrington he organized the Stanley Electric Manufacturing 
Company (1890) to produce the machines necessary for the operation 
of alternating current. As 1500 power stations in the country used such 
a system at the time, and only two other companies, the Westinghouse 
and the Thomson-Houston Electric Companies, were competitors in 
the field, the success of the Stanley Company was immediate. It was 
absorbed by the General Electric Company in 1907 and the Pittsfield 
Works were thus created. Today the General Electric plant produces 
electrical devices ranging from transformers as big as a six-room 
house to tiny light switches, bridge boards, and flat-iron handles. 
Transformers are still the chief product, and here Pittsfield leads the 
country. The production of midget transformers with a maximum 
capacity of 2000 volts and of leviathans of 220,000 volts is one of the 
routine problems of the company. 

The High Voltage Laboratory in Pittsfield is one of the most 
fully equipped in the world. In it discoveries have been made which 
vasdy expanded the uses and control of electricity. It was here that 
a Jovian flash of ten thousand volts was stepped up from period to 
period by such electrical wizards as Dr. Charles P. Steinmetz, F. W. 
Peek, and their successors. In 1921 the generation and transmission 
of electricity in excess of a million volts was dramatically demonstrated 
in this laboratory; less than two decades later, in an inconspicuous 
section of the plant, Karl B. McEachron with perfect control now 
shatters targets with ten times that power. The most awesome feature 
of this research is the "artificial lightning," a jump of electric current 
between two or more high steel towers unconnected by wire. But 
the man-made lightning and huge transformers are not the only 
attractions of the plant. The new million-dollar Plastics Department, 
where finished parts for radios, refrigerators, and oil heating units are 
manufactured from raw materials, is one of the largest of its kind. 

Since its organization the General Electric Company has increased 
its employment to the present force of over 4000 people, more than 








Metropolis in the Heart of the Berkjhires 

one-third of all workers in the city. Many of them live in Morn- 
ingside, a residential section along the northern and eastern border of 
the works. But the company, though dominant in the industrial pic- 
ture in Pittsfield, has not altogether usurped the place of other manu- 
facturing concerns. 

The textile industry in Pittsfield dates from 1800. In that year 
Arthur Scholfield, a young Englishman who had worked as a clothier 
in Yorkshire, came to the Berkshire town from Byfield near New- 
buryport. The manufacture of cloth in America was then primitive 
in method. Carding, spinning, and weaving were done on crude 
machines at home, and even the finishing processes, performed by 
professional clothiers, were at best imperfect jobs. Scholfield under- 
took to improve these methods by the introduction of machines used 
in England. 

The nature of the new machinery was a carefully guarded British 
secret. To get some of the parts out of the country, Scholfield hid them 
in piles of bedding which went unexamined to America. In 1801 
a modest advertisement appeared in the Pittsfield Sun. 

Arthur Scholfield respectfully informs the inhabitants of Pittsfield and 
neighboring towns that he has a carding machine half a mile west of 
the meeting-house where they may have wool carded into rdls for 12^4 
cents per pound . . . 

Housewives were at first reluctant to entrust their wool to the hands 
of the young stranger, but their doubts were stilled after the first 
brave souls who tried the new machine were rewarded with fine, 
strong cloth. 

While Scholfield was perfecting his textile machines, Elkanah 
Watson came to live in Pittsfield, bringing with him Merino sheep 
prized for their excellent wool. Three years later, in 18 10, he organ- 
ized the Pittsfield Agricultural Fair, held in the Park. It was the 
first of its kind in Berkshire County and probably the first "country 
fair" in America. People came from near and far on that eventful 
day. Hours before sun-up, old-fashioned "Democrat" wagons jogged 
over the bumpy country roads on their way to the cattle show, bring- 
ing their passengers to see huge, thick-necked oxen, their yokes hung 
with dahhas and sunflowers, lead off the Great Cattle Cavalcade. 
The paramount attraction, however, was sturdy Merinos of the 

82 The Ber\shire Hills 

Transhumante breed imported by Jonathan Allen, shipping magnate 
of the day. He had brought them from Lisbon, where the American 
consul, in a tidy bit of private business for himself, was dealing in 
goods confiscated from the Count of Monaco, a member of the 
Spanish Junta, when he was driven from Spain by French invaders 
and had taken refuge in Portugal. Merinos became the nucleus of 
vast flocks which supplied the woolen mills of Berkshire for gen- 

The importation of sheep with heavier wool and machinery of 
greater efficiency furthered industry, but not as much as did the 
Embargo and the War of 1812. Imports cut off, demands for clothing 
and army supplies for American use were so great that Pittsfield 
definitely established itself as a textile center. Fresh impetus was 
given the new industrial development in the 1840's by railroad con- 
nections between Pittsfield and New York and Boston. At the time 
of the Civil War, the city was an industrial center of national im- 

For a long time textiles were the principal products of industry; 
shoes and paper rated second and third. High-grade stationery is still 
made by the Eaton Paper Company, successors of the old firm of 
Eaton, Crane and Pike. The GOVERNMENT MILL on Dalton 
Avenue (Mass 9 and Mass 8) produces banknote paper at a plant 
which, though located within the limits of Pittsfield, actually belongs 
to Crane & Company of Dalton. This industry is advanced by the 
international business of E. D. Jones & Sons Company, makers of 
machinery for the manufacture of paper. Besides these major busi- 
nesses, recent years have seen sundry small enterprises established in 
the city: factories for making ladies' handbags, buttons and silk prod- 
ucts, textile machinery, hospital appliances, and automobile gauges. 

Recreation, fast growing in importance in the whole Berkshire 
area, promises to develop into another major occupation in Pittsfield. 
As far back as the '8o's and '90's, Pittsfield was attracting a large 
summer population from a wealthy leisure class. Luxurious Victorian 
houses, set among spreading lawns and equipped with stables and 
conservatories, were a common sight in those days. People who did 
not own property patronized hotels built on the Saratoga plan with 
long verandas and high-ceilinged rooms. These "carriage people" rode 
about the quiet streets in shining victorias and runabouts. 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Berkjhires 83 

Today the pace and appearance of the city have altered. Many of 
the mansions have been absorbed by realty developments and others 
have been turned into rooming houses or tourist homes, and their 
stables converted into garages. The few that have escaped such a 
transformation remain meek reminders of quiet, yet faindy glamorous 
days when the character of Pittsfield's summer business was less 
transient. Modern successors to the "carriage people" drive about the 
city in swift automobiles coming from everywhere, bound for every- 
where. They ride in Model T's without spare tires and they come 
in limousines driven by liveried chauffeurs. Traffic surveys taken at 
the main junctions in the city show that the week-ends of summer 
and autumn bring cars from nearly every state in the Union and from 
most of the Canadian provinces. During the week they come in drib- 
bles, but by the end of the week they flow in an unbroken stream, 
for, despite industrial developments, Pittsfield has in its vicinity many 
natural beauties. The fine lakes north and west of town are the 
natural center of the large playground area of Berkshire County. 

Of the six lakes within the city limits of Pittsfield, the largest is 
LAKE ONOTA, lying in an upland basin toward the northwest. 
Tradition tells that Lake Onota, the "Lake of the White Deer," was 
the favorite haunt of a pure white doe, an omen of such good fortune 
to all Indians in the valley that no arrow was drawn against her. 
"So long as the snow-white doe comes to drink at Onota," ran the 
proverb, "so long famine shall not blight the Indian harvest nor 
pestilence come nigh the Indian's lodge, nor foeman lay waste his 
country." During the French and Indian Wars, Montalbert, a young 
French officer, conceived the idea of shooting the doe and carrying 
its gleaming pelt back to Canada. Who knew but that his feat 
might finally reach the attention of the French Court at Versailles 
and become an added feather in the young officer's cap? A corrupt 
Indian guide named Wondo agreed to show him the doe's customary 
drinking place. The pretty creature appeared, drank, and, starded 
by a sudden movement in the bushes, raised her dainty head. She 
received a fatal shot. Montalbert, greatly rejoicing, started for Mon- 
treal with the prize. The moon rose an angry red over Lake Onota. 
The Indians, who had crept to the shore to watch their beloved doe 
drink of the sparkling waters, shook their heads and silendy dis- 
appeared. They knew that the white doe of Onota who had brought 

84 The Berkjhire Hills 

prosperity and contentment to the Valley Indians was with the Great 
Father of Many Waters and that somehow He would avenge her 

Wondo, who had so ignominiously betrayed the Mahicans' beau- 
tiful mascot, was artfully seduced by fire water, confessed his guilt, 
and was duly punished. Montalbert met his death as he bore the 
white doe's lifeless pelt over the Long Trail to Canada. As for the 
tribe itself, its numbers diminished, its prosperity vanished, and 
slowly its people wasted away. 

The lake can be reached from the center by turning west from 
West Street onto Onota Street and north on Lakeway Drive along 
the shore to the 133 deeply-wooded acres of BURBANK PARK. Here 
are some of the finest canoe birches in all Berkshire. This land was 
given to the city by heirs of Abraham Burbank, a gentleman who 
"came to town with five dollars, a hammer and a saw, and proceeded 
to build it into a city." He amassed a considerable fortune, some say 
by salvaging crooked nails and straightening them out. When he 
died in 1887, he tried to give the city about two-thirds of the buildings 
he had erected, but Pittsfield, fearing that the gift would force it 
into the real estate business, chose Burbank Park with its canoe birches 
instead. That Mr. Burbank was an honest man there can be no doubt, 
for his promissory note scribbled on a shingle was honored at any 
of the banks. 

Although Onota is the largest of the Pittsfield lakes, to many PON- 
TOOSUC is the most beautiful — Pontoosuc of the topaz waters. To 
reach Pontoosuc from Burbank Park, continue on the Drive to Peck's 
Road, turn left and continue past the end of the lake. At Hancock 
Street turn right to the public park. This road joins North Street 
(US 7) at the south end of Pontoosuc. 

It is said that even today the ghostly voices of Moon-keek and 
Shoon-keek, hapless lovers whom a jealous intruder brought to death, 
may be heard at night along the lake shore whispering the love words 
of their tribe. 

PONTOOSUC LAKE PARK was once known as Honasada, after 
the title bestowed upon Colonel William WUliams by the Indians. 
From a parking place beside the road leading to the lake, there is a 
superb view through the dark columns of the pines — those white 
pines which are one of Pittsfield's glories. It is difficult to conceive 

Metropolis in the Heart of the Berf^shires 85 

that this area was once a street-railway amusement park with driving 
horses and the gaudy attractions of the noisy carnivals that were the 
rage of small towns. 

Today Pontoosuc Lake is surrounded by hundreds of cottages. It 
has its bathing beach and its picnic grounds, and a summer popu- 
lation of some three or four thousand. On the east shore is CAMP 
MERRILL, where the local Y.M.C.A. has a fine picnic grove of its 
own, cabins, and a canoe club. The BLUE ANCHOR BOAT CLUB 
sets a modest membership fee, and across the lake from it is the 
GOLF COURSE at Hodecker's Grove where old Peter Hodecker— 
over ninety but still going strong — ^plays golf on his former ancestral 

A wag named Keiler, owning property adjacent to the lake, once 
tried to make a sale of Pontoosuc — winter-bound as the lake was at 
the time — to a New York gentleman who mistook its snow-covered 
level expanse for highly desirable land set in a singularly attractive 
locality amid the encircling hills. The deed of sale was drawn up, 
but for some reason or other the transaction was never consummated. 
Possibly the would-be purchaser tried to see just how deep he would 
have to dig in order to place his cellar. The lake was called "]oc 
Keiler's Farm" for many a day. 

The drive (US 7) running along Pontoosuc's eastern shore offers 
one of the best views in all Berkshire. Straight ahead is the round 
top of Constitution Hill; on the west stand Hon wee, Tower, and 
Potter Mountains, their peaks rising above the open slopes where 
steep ski trails plunge precipitously into the PITTSFIELD STATE 
FOREST. The Forest, covering 3850 acres, lies partly in Hancock 
and partly in Lanesborough. 

The hilly territory in days gone by was the favorite haunt of 
Herman MelviUe, who used to wander high above the road to the 
summit of Honwee Mountain to visit Berry Pond. In the spring, the 
woods around this litde pond are pink with mountain laurel; in 
June come the red and white azaleas; and in September, the deep 
red glow of the sumac. Melville wrote of spots in the forest: 

It has been a most glowing and Byzantine day — the heavens reflecting 
the hues of the October apples in the orchard — nay the heavens them- 
selves looking so ripe and ruddy that it must be harvest — You should 

86 The Berkshire Hills 

see the maples — you should see the perennial pines — the red blazings of 
the one contrasting with the painted green of the others and the wide 
flushings of the autumn — I tell you that sunrises and sunsets grow side 
by side in these woods and momentarily moult in the falling leaves . . . 

A celebrated "petition" written in 1856 by a noted local wag, 
Horace Taylor, shows with what ardor Pittsfield imbues its sons: 

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives: 

For Great and Weighty Reasons, We, the undersigned, inhabitants of 
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, would respectfully represent that 
the State House should be removed from Boston to Pittsfield, for the 
following reasons, to wit: 

The latter place being the most accessible from all points of the Com- 
monwealth, it being the terminus of four Railroads, one from the East, 
one from the West, one from the North, and one from the South, is 
delightfully situated in the valley of the Lanesborough pond, and stands 
at the head of the navigable waters of the Housatonic, being but 175 miles 
from New York, 3500 from London, 2 from Bobtown, and iVz from 
Pontoosuc, where there is a woolen factory in good running order, sup- 
porting four or five of the most respectable families in Western Massa- 

Pittsfield is conceded to be the most healthy place in North America, 
there having been but a single case of genuine Asiatic cholera there for 
the last five years! The people of Pittsfield are exceedingly modest, and of 
great hospitality, but patrons of temperance; their gas is excellent, and 
their wine not wanting in age — it has a peculiar pungency and flavor, 
well adapted to respectable revelry and legislative banquets; and zephyrs 
sweep their hillsides, and the wild robin and the school girl sing in the 
valleys. Whereupon, we pray our humble request may be granted, and 
that Pittsfield be the capital of our great and ancient Commonwealth, 
from and after 1856. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes, on the other hand, balked at even the 
ordinary institutions of a metropolitan center, let alone a state capital. 

It seems too bad to take away its charming rural characteristics, but 
such a beautiful healthful central situation could not resist its destiny 
and you must have a mayor, I suppose, and a common council, and a lot 
of aldermen. But you can never lose sight of Greylock nor turn the course 
of the Housatonic. 

Chapter V 

RICHMOND — Mass 41, sett. 1760, alt. 1107, pop. 628. 

WEST STOCKS RIDGE— Mass 41 and 102, sett. 1766, alt. 744, pop. 1138. 

Roads — US 20 west from Pittsfield intersects with Mass 41, which runs 
south to Richmond and West Stoc1{bridge. 

Richmond and West Stockbridge lie along a rolling valley between 
the Lenox-West Stockbridge range on the east and the Taconics on 
the west; but more than a mere mountain range now separates them 
from the Lenox and Stockbridge of which they were once a part. 
Lenox and Stockbridge have put on airs; Richmond and West Stock- 
bridge have remained farming towns, though in no sense are they 
backward communities. Fields are fenced in, barns and silos painted, 
cattle well-bred and well-fed. Agriculture still pays dividends, in cash 
money and independence, to hard-working, scientific farmers. Of 
course, the summer people have come, bought farms, and run them 
right, too; fixed up old houses that were going to rack and ruin. 
Quite a few stay the year round or come back to Richmond or West 
Stockbridge to vote. The newcomers have taken the towns as they 
found them and have not tried to make them into replicas of their 
home cities. "Our principal crops.? Wal, reckon they're hay and 
summer people," the natives say. 

To reach RICHMOND from Pittsfield, go south from City Hall 
Park along South Street to West Housatonic Street (US 20) and turn 
right. About four miles west of the Park, near the site of the Lebanon 
Shaker settlement, turn left on Mass 41 into the Richmond Valley. 
The road runs through farming country, criss-crossed by streams. 
In the distance on both sides stretch wooded mountains, dominated 
to the west by Perry's Peak. Now and again you will see rows of 
curious rocks, like a train of cars, cutting across the valley and up 
the slopes of the hiUs. These are the RICHMOND BOULDER 
TRAINS — made famous by Charles Lyell in his Antiquity of Man— 


88 The Berkshire Hills 

which the glacier that descended over New England from the fields 
of Labrador chiseled from the mountaintops. 

The whole face of the primitive landscape was scarred by moving 
ice. It scooped out lakes and river beds, carved mountains into new 
shapes. On the surface of the ice or buried in its depths were borne 
colossal boulders, hewn from the mountainsides and carried miles 
away from the parent ledges. When at last the Ice Age ended, the 
melting glacier left along its course the rocks of the Richmond Boulder 

In the township there are seven trains, each torn from a different 
ledge. Some of the boulders rode the ice current to ridges higher 
than the peaks from which they came. The longest train extends for 
nine miles and measures five hundred feet at its widest point. The 
other six are shorter and less regular, with gaps where the glacier 
was checked by the tough schist rocks beneath. The boulders vary 
in size from small fragments of schist and limestone to giants twenty- 
five feet in circumference and thirty feet high, weighing twenty tons 
or more. They differ sharply from the underlying ledge both in type 
and form. They are rounded like the waterworn stones of a river 
bed, and many show deep scratches where they were dragged over 
the rock bottom. 

One train crosses Mass 41 about two miles south of the Pittsfield- 
Richmond town line, opposite the cemetery. Another, also on the 
main road, extends southeasterly from the Congregational Church. 
The longest train crosses the same highway two miles north of 
the Richmond Railroad station, continuing across the Richmond 
Valley, over the Lenox Range, and into the Lenox-Stockbridge 

Eons after the rough-shod wheels of the Boulder Trains ground 
to a halt in Richmond's pastures, the first white settlers came to the 
region. In 1760 Captain Micah Mudge and Ichabod Wood of Con- 
necticut established themselves in the rocky area called Yokuntown 
and Mt. Ephraim, after the two Indian sachems who sold it. Chief 
Ephraim probably acquired his Biblical name from Colonel Ephraim 
Williams, prominent Stockbridge resident. Chief Yokun, it is known, 
added Timothy to his name in honor of Timothy Woodbridge, who 
had converted Yokun's Indian family to Christianity. 

Hay and Summer People 89 

Later the tract was divided into the townships of Lenox and Rich- 
mond. In the verse of an esteemed local poetess: 

Richmond and Lenox at first were just one 
But a long, lazy mountain runs through the town 
Later the township, which seemed too widespread, 
Divided itself, and then hist'ry read: 

Jonathan Hinsdale came up the valley; 

Hartford he left, in a new world to sally. 

Two centuries back and in "sixty seven" 

Several new homes raised their chimneys toward Heaven. 

The two pioneer settlers built houses on Mt. Ephraim not far 
from the site of the present Congregational Church in Richmond. 
They were followed by the Sherrills, Piersons and Chapins, who 
according to another verse of the jingle soon "completed their man- 
sions." In 1765 Mt. Ephraim was incorporated as the town of Rich- 
mond, named for Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond, defender of 
Colonial rights. As the settlers were weak on spelling, for twenty 
years the new name was written Richmont instead of Richmond. In 
1767, the eastern valley withdrew to become the independent town 
of Lenox, and the boundaries were laid out to include the whole of 
each land owner's fields in one town or the other. As a result, the 
lines zigzag like a flight of stairs. 

Among the families whose land remained in Richmond was that 
of Nathan Cogswell, a blacksmith who lived to marry four wives; 
three now He buried in the town, the fourth in New Lebanon, New 
York. John Cogswell and his family had come to this country on 
Sir Walter Raleigh's ill-fated Angel Gabriel, which was storm-wrecked 
on our shores. Six Cogswell children reached safety, and one of them 
became the great-great-great grandmother of Ralph Waldo Emerson. 
Oliver Wendell Holmes also traced his ancestry to this line. 

Twenty-live years ago the section of Richmond around the rail- 
road station was called "Wall Street" because of the number of rich 
people, generally brokers and members of the Stock Exchange, who 
lived there during the summer. The depression has changed the 
picture somewhat, but there are still a goodly number of wealthy 
business men who have kept up their summer homes. Richmond's 

90 The Berkshire Hills 

rural surroundings, excellent train service, and easy access to Pitts- 
field and Albany are rare advantages. Some houses are still occupied 
by natives of the town, some by descendants of early settlers vi^ho have 
returned to Richmond to live, and others by "city people" from New 
York, who have restored early dwellings. 

About a mile from the Pittsfield line is the PARMALEE HOUSE, 
a two-and-a-half story frame structure with an overhanging second 
story. It was built by Deacon Silas Parmalee in 1763. This oldest 
house in Richmond once contained a secret passage leading to a stone 
vault, a place of refuge in case of Indian attack. 

Among the old houses in the town is the PIERSON PLACE, 
built about 1800, on the right of Mass 41, two miles from the 
Pittsfield-Richmond town line. It is a large, white clapboarded struc- 
ture pierced by huge brick chimneys and surrounded by landscaped 
lawns and stately elm trees. When the Pierson family lived here in 
the first part of the nineteenth century, they owned acres of rich farm 
land, many head of cattle, and a tannery. 

It was probably in this house that another Parmalee, Captain 
Moses, welcomed a meeting of blacksmiths on Tuesday, November 
24, 1795, at one o'clock. The blacksmiths of the Berkshire regions 
wanted to organize for higher wages. Along with the rest of the 
country, the people of Berkshire felt the economic distress which 
followed the conclusion of the Revolution. We get an inkling of the 
situation from the following account in the Western Star, a weekly 
paper printed in Stockbridge: 

At a late meeting of the Blacksmiths — ^after taking into confidence the 
present high prices of the necessities of life, and the advanced price of 
stock, it was agreed that the price of their labor must be enhanced, in 
order to enable them to support themselves and families by their occupa- 
tion. They have therefore determined to charge in future 8d. where they 
heretofore charged but 6d. and so on in that proportion. To convince 
the publick of the reasonableness of their conduct, they here subjoin an 
account of former and present prices. 

Former Prices 

Present Prices 


4s. 6d. 

I OS. 





2S, 6d. 



i6s. 8d. 


Hay and Summer People 91 

Beyond the Pierson house, near the junction of the old Pittsfield 
Road and Mass 41, stands KENMORE, built in 1792 by Henry 
Sherrill, ancestor of the present Episcopal Bishop of Eastern Massa- 
chusetts. A large yellow house trimmed with white, it has an impres- 
sive Palladian window above the front door. Down the Pittsfield Road, 
the fifth house on the left is the OLD DWIGHT HOUSE, another 
property belonging to the Sherrills. Mary Sherrill received it from her 
father, one of the town's early settlers, on her marriage to the Rev- 
erend Edwin Welles D wight. Congregational minister in Richmond. 
Raymond Buell, President of the Foreign Policy Association, now 
lives in the house and calls it "Goodwood." 

About a mile beyond the Boston and Albany Railroad bridge, at a 
junction of four roads, stand two venerable structures. The one on 
the right is the old TRADING POST, built during the early nine- 
teenth century and now owned by Roland Perry, New York portrait 
painter. It is a weather-beaten, rambling sort of place, set back on 
a well-shaded lawn. Opposite is the weather-beaten STEVENS TAV- 
ERN, a famous hostelry in stagecoach days. 

About a mile straight ahead on the Pittsfield Road Is one of the 
few brick houses in the town, built in 1820 by William Nichols. It 
remained in the Nichols family until a few years ago but is now 
owned by Albert Sterner of New York. The front hall is decorated 
with murals of flowers and rural scenes by the owner, a well-known 
artist and illustrator, noted for his paintings in the Yale University 
Library. The STERNER HOUSE, on a high hill, commands one of 
the broadest views in the town. 

Back on Mass 41, nearer the town center, is another old SHER- 
RILL HOUSE, built by Samuel Sherrill about 1763. Occupied by 
successive generations of the family for 171 years without a new deed 
being drawn up, it now belongs to Mrs. Mary L. Sherrill, widow of 
the last male owner. These houses are private, not open to visitors. 

"Next door" in Richmond may easily mean a mile away, for the 
town has no central common. The houses, unusual in view of the 
New England tradition of a precise pattern around a "village green," 
look as if they had been scattered haphazardly over the landscape. 
The prim old white church and town hall stand by themselves on 
an isolated hill; the general store, a garage, and two or three small 

92 The Ber\shire Hills 

houses cluster on Mass 41 by the raihoad station. The rest of the 
town is spread out thinly over the valley. 

Richmond is an old town and has its portion of legends and stories. 
Many of these are about "Old Nogard," said to have been one of 
the first tramps in Berkshire. He never told much about his past, 
but is supposed to have been a camp follower of the British Army 
during the Revolution. "Old Nog," as he was popularly called, held 
the belief that any man who did a hard day's work committed a mis- 
demeanor. Williamstown to Lenox was his "beat," but his head- 
quarters were in Pittsfield and Richmond. In order to get money 
to buy whisky, he caught fish and kidnaped stray cats whose skins 
he sold. All the housewives hid their pets whenever he appeared in 
the neighborhood, for if fishing was not good and Nog was out of 
his favorite beverage, he stalked the pussies. Once, while fishing in 
Richmond, he pulled out a large catfish. He hurled the fish into the 
water, exclaiming with disgust, "When I go catting, I go catting, and 
when I go fishing, I go fishing." On another occasion he was caught 
fishing on Sunday and haled into court. He defended himself by 
pleading, "I wa'nt fishing, just trying to drown a fish worm." 

Another picturesque Richmond character was countryman Wad- 
dams, who opened a store in the i88o's on the Canaan Road. He 
wore a stovepipe hat during his waking hours, and kept many of his 
cash accounts on it with white chalk. Waddams' idiosyncrasies amused 
the whole township. William H. Sherrill, former County Commis- 
sioner, lifelong resident, and one of the oldest citizens in town, takes 
delight in telUng of an official encounter he had with Waddams. One 
day Waddams asked Mr. Sherrill to come to his farm so that the 
Commissioner could see the carcass of a sheep which had been killed, 
supposedly by a pack of dogs. Much impressed by the petitioner's dis- 
play of grief and indignation over the dead sheep. Commissioner 
Sherrill hastily valued the animal at a price the county would by law 
repay. A week later the Commissioner was again asked to come to 
Waddams' farm, only to be led to another field to inspect another 
sheep killed by dogs. The carcass looked strangely familiar, and Sher- 
rill requested that a shovel and an axe be brought to the field. When 
the hired man came with the tools, he was set to work digging a pit, 
while the official himself cut up the carcass with the axe. Waddams, 
watching with melancholy aspect, sadly protested, "Now WiUiam, 

Hay and Summer People 93 

that is no way to treat me! Don't you realize that you are depriving 
me of my only means to earn an honest Hving?" 

Iron mining, an important industry in Richmond for many years, 
was started by Gates Petee and Company in 1827. When an interest 
in the properties was sold to George and John Coffing in 1850, the 
new owners changed the name to the Richmond Iron Works. At 
first the ore went by saddlebag to a forge in Glendale down the 
valley, but after a while they did their smelting at the RICHMOND 
FURNACE, erected beside the highway just south of the railroad 
station. The high-grade iron was so durable that it was soon in 
demand for special purposes. During the Civil War, the output of 
Richmond furnaces was used in manufacturing the "Rodman" guns 
with which the Monitor attacked the Merrimac, first ironclad vessel 
of the War. Iron for super-heaters, high-pressure castings, ammonia 
castings, chilled rolls, steam cylinders, and car wheels came out of the 
Richmond mines. For nearly forty years during the latter part of the 
nineteenth century, the Pennsylvania Railroad used Richmond iron 
for making "chilled" car-wheel mixtures. Richmond boasts that no 
wreck was ever caused by an imperfect wheel made of its iron. 

Nearly three miles of track were laid in the underground corri- 
dors of the Richmond Iron Works, and there was an average yearly 
output at the beginning of the twentieth century of ten to twelve 
thousand tons of ore. Though a half-million tons are presumably still 
underground, the high price of charcoal and the competition of 
western and southern companies made mining so unprofitable that 
in 1924 the Richmond mines were closed. Now the shafts are filled 
with water and all the buildings, except one office, have been razed. 

When the mine was thriving, a large settlement with its own post- 
office, general store, and railroad station grew up around the Furnace. 
From fifty to a hundred men were employed at the mine — Irishmen, 
Scotchmen, Englishmen, and Yankees. One brick house of this old 
Furnace setdement is called the FLOWER HOUSE because of its 
unusual panel, painted by Zorton Denemuth of New York. The 
decorative design shows hollyhocks, pond lilies, a birch tree, and a boy 
watching a sunset. 

Continuing south from Richmond, Mass 41 gradually descends 
through a narrowing river valley to enter WEST STOCKBRIDGE, 

94 The Berkshire Hills 

whose history may be read in its buildings. Square white houses, 
dignified and well-kept, are monuments of a prosperous nineteenth 
century. They mingle with frame buildings, faced with flat boards 
grooved to resemble mortar joints, and small houses, relics of mining 
and quarrying days when colonies of Italian and Irish laborers lived 
here. The Irish came with the railroad building of the 1830's and 
1840's and remained to work in the quarries and lime works, which 
also attracted the Italians after the middle of the century. 

Three lime plants are still in operation, but it is considered un- 
hkely that they will ever expand their business. Prominent citizens 
who have been engaged in the quarrying industry in the past see 
httle hope of recapturing an industrial boom. Rather they have turned 
their backs on the old type of enterprise, and look forward to a new 
way of earning a livelihood. They hope to develop West Stockbridge 
into a "home town for city folks" who find in Berkshire something 
recreative that cities cannot give. Already many of the homes in West 
Stockbridge have been purchased and restored by the newcomers. 
On one road, eighteen houses have been sold within the past five 
years by a single real estate man. 

As part of the development program for the town, a road from 
West Stockbridge to the New York State Line is being constructed 
to connect with New York City and the Canadian highways, in the 
hope that it will divert tourists into the hills of Berkshire. Plans are 
also under way to widen Mass 41, which runs south from Pittsfield 
and Richmond, and Mass 102 going east to Stockbridge. By use of 
the new roads, traffic going north and south through Berkshire can 
avoid the more heavily traveled US 7 and 20. 

The OLD STONE MILL on lower Main Street, at the junction 
of Mass 41 and Mass 102, was built in 1830, during the period when 
West Stockbridge was a leading marble town. The Boynton family 
owned the largest quarry at the time and built the mill for sawing 
marble blocks. For more than forty years the best-equipped and most 
modern marble sawmill in Western Massachusetts, it was operated 
until the marble industry was abandoned. In later years, the mill was 
used to grind emery, and then as a storage house. In 1929 Benjamin 
Eggleston, New York artist, came to West Stockbridge looking for 
a summer home, and turned the old mill into a studio. It afterwards 
became one of the tea rooms in a chain established through Berkshire. 

Hay and Summer People 95 

The old mill building has stone walls twenty-six inches thick on 
three sides, and a back wall ten inches thicker. The hand-hewn 
girders were put in when the building was constructed. Now the 
race-way is sealed and the water turned back of the mill. 

The marble deposits that underlie West Stockbridge were dis- 
covered by chance when a farmer going out to fetch his cows stumbled 
on an open vein. Another farmer turned his ankle in a woodchuck's 
hole and found iron ore. As soon as news of the finds was spread, 
everyone went prospecting. Other ore beds and marble veins were 
discovered, and a dozen or more quarries were opened, whereupon 
the farmers decided to farm less and quarry more. 

From 1824 to i860 West Stockbridge was a marble town of such 
importance that thousands of dollars were invested in the enterprise. 
The stone ranged in color from pure white to a dark bluish tint 
resembling granite. Although its texture varied, much of it was suffi- 
ciently high-grade to be used in parts of the State House in Boston, 
the City Hall in New York, and Girard College in Philadelphia. 
The surface veins were thin, however, and once they were exhausted, 
the underlying rock lay too deep to be quarried profitably. 

In the boom days of the two important industries it was hard to 
get the marble to the nearest shipping point at Hudson, New York. 
Between West Stockbridge and Hudson lay thirty-five miles of road 
hardly better than a lumber trail. Sometimes it took five span of 
oxen to haul a single slab of marble over this distance. After reaching 
the Hudson River, iron and marble were easily carried to New York 
in barges and from there shipped to the four corners of the earth. 

As transportation difficulties increased, the need for a feeder line 
to join the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad at State Line became 
apparent, but its financing was made difficult by an early prejudice 
against railroads. The farmers said horses and cows would be fright- 
ened by the noise of the locomotives, and, moreover, should trains 
displace horses, there'd be no market for oats and hay. But the day 
was saved by the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad, which supplied 
construction, superintendence, and money. The West Stockbridge line 
was organized and chartered on April 26, 1838, and by August 10 the 
three-mile road to State Line was opened. 

With a clash, rattle, and cloud of smoke the first train in western 

96 The Berkshire Hills 

Massachusetts arrived at the West Stockbridge station, eastern ter- 
minal of the railroad. The 25th of September, 1838, was a big day in 
the town. The flimsy matchboard coaches were filled with passengers, 
and numerous friends greeted the train with shouts and cheers as it 
finished its precarious journey. This was the culmination of ten years 
of never-ceasing work with opposition at every turn, especially from 
the county's horse-raisers, who wished to devise a system of canals 
with horse-drawn barges. 

As if to justify the contentions of the new road's enemies, the 
heat of sunmier expanded the rails and the snow in winter often 
blocked the line for weeks or months. As snow plows were unheard 
of, all the work of cleaning the line had to be done by hand. The ice 
was broken from the rails by flangers, pulled by two men and guided 
by a third. The severity of Berkshire winters was so great that often 
the rails were broken. 

Oil lamps furnished lighting facilities and wood stoves the heat. 
Wood stations, replenished by farmers under contract, were erected 
about every fifteen miles along the line, and often when the trains 
stopped to refuel, the passengers left the cars to explore the environs. 

The line operated until 1854, when the Western Railroad bought 
it out for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. During its sixteen 
years of existence the most serious accident occurred when the train, 
leaving the West Stockbridge switching yards, ran into a cow, and 
the concussion hurled the engine into a neighbor's front yard. At the 
time of the crash, the train was dashing along at the rate of eighteen 
miles an hour! 

The OLD ROUNDHOUSE, located by a townsman as "7 tele- 
phone poles from the junction of Mass 41 and the railroad crossing 
near the West Stockbridge depot," dates from 1838. It was built at 
the same time as the railroad to house the little wood-burning engine 
that labored furiously on its trek across the mountains. Today only the 
turntable pit and crumbling stone walls remain. 

Early engines were small and did not require any turntables, but 
when larger locomotives came into use, an annex had to be erected 
on the front of the building. The train crew, in putting the engine 
into its stall, would back the tender into the enginehouse and then 
uncouple it, switch it to another parallel track by hand, and back the 











Hay and Summer People 97 

engine in next to the tender. If the piston rods straightened out 
to their full length, the engine sometimes could not start its morning 
run. Then a farmer named Robinson who lived on the Kniffin farm 
nearby would lend his yoke of oxen to the trainmen. The animals, 
hitched to the engine, would get it moving by a strong pull. Often 
when the engine would refuse to function just as the train was made 
up and ready to start, the crew would have to rush after Mr. Robinson 
and his yoke of oxen. 

From the beginning, the trains on the old Hudson and Berkshire 
line had their difficulties in moving freight and passengers. Ore carts 
had to be pushed ahead of the little engines from the low point of 
the railroad up to the ore beds, halfway to State Line. There the 
brakes would be set by hand and the engine would back down. After 
loading, the cars coasted down to the main track controlled only in 
part by the brakemen, for the hand-operated brakes didn't always 
work. With the loaded cars coupled on, the train would then back 
into West Stockbridge, where other freight, express, and passengers 
were taken aboard for the hazardous trip to Hudson, New York. 
There was some danger and little comfort in riding one of these early 
trains, for the passage was slow and the tracks never safe. Heavy 
wooden timbers were laid down as ties with pieces of planking from 
two to three inches thick spiked to them. Strips of iron were fastened 
to the planks for rails, but often the spikes worked loose. Pieces of 
the iron rail would then curl up beneath the train and penetrate the 
floor boards in a "snake head," as old railroad men called it. From 
time to time such a loosened rail would spit a passenger right in his 
seat. Despite these perils, both passenger traffic and freight traffic were 
heavy, for this was the quickest means of getting from central and 
lower Berkshire to Albany and other ports on the Hudson River. 

To the West Stockbridge terminal people came from all parts of 
western Massachusetts by all modes of travel — on horseback, by stage- 
coach, and often by oxen, to board the puffing, noisy monster or to 
ship or receive mail, freight, and express. Coal for all Berkshire was 
received at West Stockbridge and distributed by teams and oxen to 
the towns of the region. Jason Clapp ran a line of elegant coaches 
from Pittsfield to connect with the cars at West Stockbridge, and 
continued to do so until the opening of the Western Railroad. 

pS The Ber\shire Hills 

STATE LINE, once the junction of the Hudson and Berkshire 
and the West Stockbridge railroads, is now on the main Une of the 
Boston and Albany Railroad and on a ten-mile branch of the Berkshire 
division of the New York, New Haven and Hartford. The hard- 
surfaced road which swings west off Mass 41, at the war memorial 
just north of West Stockbridge, enters State Line from the north. 

An ancient tavern, the STATE LINE HOUSE, is now being de- 
molished to make room for a new highway. For a long time everyone 
supposed it to be on the New York-Massachusetts boundary, until 
an error in the survey was discovered. As this placed the house about 
twenty feet east of the line, an ell extending over the new boundary 
was built to maintain the tradition. The situation was most con- 
venient, especially when there was a liquor raid in one state, for the 
bar, purposely mounted on casters, needed only to be wheeled to 
the side of the house farthest from the raiding party. Somehow raids 
by both states seem never to have been scheduled at the same time. 

Returning from State Line to Mass 41, watch out for a signboard 
marked WEST CENTER on a road to the right, for this was the 
original settlement in West Stockbridge. Lambert Burghardt, one of 
the first setders, came up from Egremont in 1766 and built his house 
at the Center, near the present site of the Congregational Church. 
Joseph Bryant settled in the extreme northwestern corner near State 
Line. Some say his was the first house within the town boundaries; 
certainly his land deed is dated two months earlier than Burghardt's. 

The territory was the site of a Stockbridge Indian town called 
Qua-pau-kuk, which in 1724 was conveyed to white settlers by the 
Konkapot treaty, still to be read in the Boo\ of Records of the Lower 
Housatonic Proprietary. 

Know all Men by these presents that we, Conkepot Poneyote Partar- 
wake . . . Waenenocow . . . Cauconaughfeet Nonamcaunet . . . Sunk- 
hunk . . . Tartakim . . . Cancannap . . . Mauchewaufeet John VanGilder 
... all of Housatonack for & in consideration of a valuable sum . . . 
Four Hundred and Sixty Pounds Three Barrels of Sider & thirty quarts 
of Rum . . . have given, granted, bargained, sold, aliened, conveyed & 
confirmed . . . unto Col. John Stoddard Capt. John Ashley, Capt. Henry 
Dwight & Capt. Luke Hitchcock ... a certain Tract of land lying upon 
Housatonack River ... we ye sd Indians are ye true, sole, & lawful owners 
of ye aforegranted premises . . . this 25th day of April, in ye tenth year of 

Hay and Summer People 99 

his Majisty's rign and in ye year of one thousand seven hundred & twenty 

Signed, sealed & deld 
in presence of us 
Conreat Borghghart 
Benjamin Smith 
John Gun Jun 
Samuel Bardett 

The section ceded by the Indians was called Queensborough, perhaps 
to complement the land to the west, which had been named King's 
District. In 1771, residents began a campaign to free themselves from 
the mother town of Stockbridge. Elijah Williams, one of the leading 
residents, addressed a revealing letter to Colonel William Williams, 
representative to the Massachusetts General Court, regarding the 

Sir: We now have a petition in the General Court to have the west 
part of Stockbridge set ofif and made a district, which I suppose, will meet 
with no opposition. We have called the place Queensborough, sh'd be glad 
to have it retain that name if it is agreeable to his Excellency. I forgot 
to desire Squire Woodbridge to mention it to the Governor, and had I 
thought of it, I suppose he would have been too negligent to have done 
anything about it. I would therefor now beg favor of you, sir, to request 
his Excellency to call the place Queensborough if it is agreeable to him. 
I am sir, with respect to your very humble servant. 

Elijah Williams 
Queensborough, June 4, ijyi 

Squire Woodbridge was the Stockbridge representative to the General 
Court. In 1774 the Court gave the territory which lay within the 
western boundary of Stockbridge the right to incorporate separately 
under the name of West Stockbridge, 

On the West Center road is the old SILVERNAIL HOUSE, built 
in 1810, the second dwelling to occupy this site. The first house was 
described by Frederick Tobey, town historian, as "a modest wooden 
frame building not far removed from a log cabin." Elijah Slosson, a 
relative of Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, erected this first 
dwelling about 1775. Here Mother Ann visited at a time when she 
was trying to convert Eliphet Slosson, Elijah's son, to Shakerism. 

100 The Berkshire Hills 

Eliphet was betrothed to a pretty girl in the neighborhood, and stead- 
fastly refused to embrace the Shaker doctrine of celibacy. Finally 
Mother Ann feigned defeat, and to show her good will invited the 
young couple to the Shaker settlement in Lebanon, New York, for 
a wedding dinner. Within a few months, the two were married and 
crossed the mountains to Lebanon for the feast. Evidently Mother Ann 
had laid her plan well, for before the meal was finished, the bride 
and groom decided to live in the settlement in Shaker fashion as 
brother and sister. The bride lived on to the age of ninety-four in 
the West Pittsfield Shaker Colony, while her husband stayed in 

The old house that now stands on the Slosson site has been re- 
stored to its original beauty, and the surrounding broad acres of 
fertile farm land brought again to productivity. The house is set back 
from the road with lilac bushes and old elms around it. There is a 
magnificent view here of distant Mt. Greylock to the north, the 
wooded side of Lenox Mountain, and the line of the Hoosacs far to 
the east. 

The Shakers were not the only sect to seek converts in West 
Stockbridge, for in 1839 a missionary entered the community and 
organized a Mormon society with thirty members. The sect seems to 
have found its Berkshire neighbors uncongenial. In 1841 most of the 
converts joined the Mormon migration to Nauvoo on the Mississippi 
River, and the rest pressed on with a group of Mormons who settled 
Salt Lake City. 

A less organized but spectacular religious movement was initiated 
by a rehgious fanatic named Reed, who appeared at about the same 
time as the Mormons. Believing that the Lord wished him to atone 
for his sins, this prophet decided to offer up a pig on an altar near the 
summit of Stockbridge Mountain. With a frightened youth to assist 
him in driving and carrying the pig. Reed climbed the mountainside 
to a spot where there were several large rocks resembling a sacrificial 
table. The pig was tied on a pinnacle of wood, but at the first touch 
of the flame, it rolled off and fled down the mountain, squealing 
frantically. The terrified helper was close at its heels, for between 
curses and holy ardor, Reed shouted that a human sacrifice would do. 
It is said on the best authority that the youth ran so fast that he 
overtook and passed the pig. 

Hay and Summer People loi 

Nearly a century has passed since West Center was a thriving 
community. Only a few scattered farm houses and barns and the old 
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (1788) remain. There are many 
more elaborate churches in Berkshire, but none more graceful than 
this old building. Simple and well proportioned, it stands with the 
Taconics at its back, old lilac trees nestling by its side, and a crumbling 
stone wall ranging across the front. 

Back of the Congregational Church rises TOM BALL MOUN- 
TAIN. On its rocky summit many years ago, another fleeing man, 
one Benjamin Johns, sought refuge from his wife's clacking tongue. 
Benjamin was a pious Methodist, one of the first in the section, and 
he took his religion hard. His life became a round of prayer and 
Bible-reading. Such sanctity was too much for his wife. She nagged 
him to feed the stock when he wanted to pray; she ordered him out 
into the fields when he had settled down with the Good Book. Home 
was no longer his castle nor even his sanctuary. He decided to seek 
a spot where he could commune with God at his pleasure. The place 
nearest God and farthest from his wife was the top of Tom Ball 
Mountain, and here, so they say, Benjamin prayed in peace to the end 
of his days. 

In West Stockbridge you will hear a Berkshire version of the 
murdered traveler story, variations of which occur all over New 
England. On a night when a violent storm was raging, with plenty 
of thunder and rain, an unknown traveler from New York State 
stopped at a West Stockbridge tavern for supper. After he had paid 
his bill from a large roll of money, inquired the way to Stockbridge, 
and departed "on the edge of the evening," he was never seen alive 
again. There were other strangers in the inn that night, two "evil- 
looking" men, who cast covetous eyes at the bank roll. But there 
seemed no cause for alarm until in the spring the melting snow sur- 
rendered the body of the traveler. The spot is on Mass 102 about a 
mile south from the junction of that highway and Mass 41 on the 
road to Stockbridge. Near a small ravine by a brook on the right of 
the road, near the town, is his burial place, or so it is said. The melan- 
choly tale is recorded by William Cullen Bryant in "The Murdered 

When Spring to woods and wastes around 
Brought bloom and joy again 

102 The Berkshire Hills 

The murdered traveler's bones were found 
Far down a mountain glen. 

They litde knew, who loved him so, 

The fearful death he met, 
When shouting o'er the dessert snow, 

Unarmed and hard beset. . . . 

Nor how, when strangers found his bones. 

They dressed the hasty bier. 
And marked his grave with nameless stones 

Unmoistened by a tear. 

Fruitless attempts have been made to identify the murdered traveler 
of West Stockbridge. Quite a few local families would like to have 
him as an ancestor — a companion, perchance, for the skeleton in the 

Chapter VI 

STOCKBRIDGE — US 7, and Mass 102 and 183, sett. 1736, alt. 829, pop. 

LENOX — US 7 and 20, Mass 183, sett. 1750, alt. 1210, pop. 2706. 

Roads — Mass 102 goes direct from West Stoc\bridge to Stoc\bridge; from 
there to Lenox the direct route between centers is US 7, but Mass 102 
west to Mass 18^ and then north is a nearer way to Stoc\bridge Bowl. 

The Lenox and Stockbridge region is Berkshire in its best dress suit 
and evening gown. Here you drive past luxurious estates and a sculp- 
tured landscape. Here are all the habiliments of great wealth and 
power. This is Berkshire, the sophisticate, in contrast to old New 
England in Berkshire, where simplicity and the old order hold sway. 

Miles of tailored hedges and smooth roads enclose spacious lawns 
and flower-filled gardens, the handiwork of landscape architects who 
know how to add the fitting human touch to a natural setting of 
great beauty. So concealed are the mansions in their deliberate isolation 
that only an occasional roof and chimney are visible above the green 
tops of the trees. 

Long before the coming of the English gardeners, Indians roamed 
these heavy forests and pushed their canoes up the Housatonic. The 
local tribe was a remote connection of the Mahicans of whom Cooper 
wrote in his Leatherstochjng Tales^; the name is variously spelled, as 
Mohegan or Mahican or Mohican, but all are a corruption of Muk- 
hekaneew, "the people of the ever-flowing waters." The plague of 
1616-1617 wiped out all but a few of the tribesmen who had once 
ranged far and wide from New York into the upper Housatonic 
Valley. The Mahicans, as they were commonly called in Berkshire, 
were members of the powerful Algonquin branch of American 
Indians, and it seems fairly certain that some of the Stockbridge 
group were Algonquin migrants from Manhattan Island. The Algon- 
quin tribes were for the most part friendly to white men, and they 
appeared willing to accept the Christian religion. 


104 ^^^ BerJ^shire Hills 


Mahicans roamed the Berkshire Hills until the first settlement by 
the whites in STOCKBRIDGE in 1736. At least that is the orthodox 
date, although it is true that a certain Dutchman named Van Valken- 
burg had for years before then occupied a tiny cabin at the base of 
Monument Mountain, where he bartered frequently and nefariously 
with the Indians, trading trinkets and whisky for furs and food. 

In 1734 the Reverend Samuel Hopkins of West Springfield be- 
came interested in the "neglected" natives of Berkshire and began 
to advocate the erection of a mission for their "redemption." Together 
with the Reverend Stephen Williams, the "Boy Captive" of Long- 
meadow, he went to visit the Mahicans and talked with Konkapot 
and Umpachenee, the chiefs of the tribe, pointing out to them the need 
of their people for the white man's teaching. 

The Mahicans hesitated, not sure that they wanted white teachers 
to show them the light. Umpachenee, more suspicious than the rest 
of his tribe, was quick to ask : "What is the cause of the sudden favor 
shown my tribesmen.'* ... If we should permit the whites to become 
co-proprietors of our land, will not our children be imperiled?" But 
Chief Konkapot, whose innate nobility saw only good in the pro- 
posal, persuaded his people to accept the white man's mission and to 
welcome him as a friend and brother. 

The General Court of Massachusetts granted a tract of land for 
the purpose of establishing the Indian mission, with lots set apart for 
four white families. ■ The Reverend Mr. Hopkins was appointed the 
first Indian missionary, but his was only a nominal title. In 1734 
John Sergeant, young tutor at Yale, became the first resident mis- 
sionary at Stockbridge. Shortly, he obtained Timothy Woodbridge 
as substitute teacher and went back to Yale. The following year an 
ecclesiastical council of ministers and laymen, including such notables 
as the Governor and his council, assembled at Deerfield, and there, 
in the presence of numerous Indians, Sergeant was solemnly ordained 
and embarked upon his life's work. 

A year later Governor Belcher invited Sergeant and a delegation 
of Mahicans to come to Boston to effect a transfer of Stockbridge 
land to the whites. Needless to say, the Indians got the short end of 
the stick, for they agreed to exchange a bale of pelts and fifty-two 
square miles of land for a church. The Governor promised that the 

Midas Touches the Hills 105 

new church would be built immediately, to replace the first rude 
shelter erected by the Mahicans under the guidance of John Sergeant. 
Carefully preserved in the files of the Stockbridge Library is a copy 
of a letter written by the minister in 1743 to a friend in Boston. After 
nine years' toil among the Indians, John Sergeant still held to his 
dream of "redeeming" his brothers. 

What I propose in general is to take such a Method in the Education 
of our Indians as shall in the most effectual manner change their whole 
Habit of thinking and acting; and raise them, as far as possible, into the 
Conditions of a civil, industrious, and polish'd People; while at the same 
Time the Principles of Vertue and Piety shall be carefully instilled into 
their Minds in a Way that will make the most lasting Impression; and 
withal to introduce the English Language among them instead of their 
own imperfect and barbarous Dialect. 

For sixteen years John Sergeant lived among the Indians, slept 
in their wigwams before they built his house, shared their venison 
and edible roots, and conversed with them in their own language. 
He helped them to incorporate an Indian township, to construct 
houses like those of the white men, to cultivate the land, and to 
worship God in their own litde church. So great was the fame of the 
Stockbridge Mission that Indians from New York and Connecticut 
were drawn to enjoy its benefits. 

When the first great leader of the Stockbridge Mission passed on, 
other men, equally able and sincere, succeeded him — Jonathan 
Edwards, the great Puritan divine, Stephen West, John Kirkland, and 
John Sergeant, Jr. The Indians showed definite signs of becoming 
properly civilized according to the standards of their teachers. They 
went to church, they tilled the soil, and some of them held public 
office along with the whites in the government of the town. 

But despite the good men who came to teach them, and despite 
their own efforts to adapt themselves to the new civihzation, the 
Indians were driven from the land of their fathers. John Sergeant's 
work was lost. War took its toll — war at the white man's elbow, for 
these Indians were always loyal, faithful to their white friends even 
when only the shell of friendship remained on the side of the whites 
and the core was eaten away by cupidity. 

With touching humiHty the Indians presented on June 21, 1775, 
a petition that temperance might be preserved among them. 

io6 The Berkshire Hills 

We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being soldiers enlisted to 
serve in the provincial army during summer, beg leave to lay this request 
before you. We, in our more serious hours, reflect with shame upon our 
aptness to drink spirituous liquors to excess when we are under tempta- 
tion; by which foolish conduct, when we are guilty of it, we render our- 
selves unfit for usefulness and service to our fellowmen and also disagree- 
able to those that have anything to do with us. 

We are sensible that we injure ourselves more than anybody else. When 
we get a taste we must some of us with shame say that sometimes no 
interest of our own will prevent us from procuring more till we get too 
much. We therefore desire you would, in your wisdom, do something 
during our residence there that we may get so much as will be good for 
us and no more. 

The petition is signed by various Bills, Johns and Samuels, bearing 
the colorful surnames of Wauyumpskeynunnaunt, Auhheckhubinau- 
hoot, and Naunaupretaunkey. 

Thumbed again, the Proprietors' Record Book yields numerous en- 
tries more ominous for the future of the Indian : 

Voted that T. Woddbridge Esq. make sale for the payment of the just 
debts of the Indian proprietors ... all tracts of land lying . . . 

Voted that loo acres of land belonging to the Indian props, of Stock- 
bridge be sold for the payment of a debt of ^^o to one Moses Parson 
of Windsor. 

At meeting of May 1766 — voted to Wm. Goodrich in consideration of 
his having his ox killed, 50 acres of land. 

One hundred acres, fifty acres — all Indian land taken away for this 
reason and for that. It must have been comparatively easy to get 
property away from the Indians through legal machinations. An old 
Berkshire historian attributes the loss of their heritage to "the Indians' 
preference for the shining coin to possessions which involved constant 
and uncongenial labor, leaving it probable that finally by far the 
most valuable lands of the town became the property of their shrewder 
brethren of the paler race." 

The tragic day came when the sons and grandsons of Konkapot 
awoke to the fact that they were no longer wanted, though their land 
and their property were. In 1783 there was one last council fire — a 
few murmured protests and threats — and then they agreed, one by 

Midas Touches the Hills lorj 

one, to leave the land of their fathers and to seek the reservation and 
hunting ground of the Oneidas in New York. Under the sorrowful 
supervision of John Sergeant, Jr., the Stockbridge Indians made their 
unhappy trek to New York; within five years the migration was com- 
pleted. So ended John Sergeant's mission. Not with bloodshed, not 
with curses. 

In the southwestern part of the town on a grassy plateau from 
which one may get a clear view of the Housatonic Valley and Monu- 
ment Mountain, is the old BURIAL PLACE OF THE STOCK- 
BRIDGE INDIANS. On a tall monolith of native stone is graven a 
belated tribute: 





Descendants of the town's pioneer white setders dedicated this 
memorial to the original red settlers in 1877. A noble gesture, but it 
cannot obliterate the memory of what happened to a people who, 
when the settlers of Stockbridge were sorely pressed, sent the follow- 
ing message of devotion to the Massachusetts Legislature: 

Our ways of fighting are not your ways. We cannot train as your 
soldiers do, but only show us where your enemies are. That is all we 
want to know. 

As the center of an experiment in Indian mission work. Stock- 
bridge from its earliest days had a character all its own. John Sergeant, 
Jonathan Edwards, Stephen West, and John Sergeant, Jr., were the 
leaders of the town. But men of worldly position and wealth also 
came to live here and formed a powerful clique, intent upon accumu- 
lating fortunes by defrauding the red men and the Colonial govern- 
ment of money given for the conversion and education of the savages. 
One historian comments that 

The town was an inviting place for all those schemers who make up 
Indian "rings" and grow rich off the Indian's necessities, and more than 

io8 The Berkshire Hills 

once the righteous Edwards burned with holy anger against their iniqui- 
tous doings. 

In the autumn of the first year of Edwards' service the "ring" did 
everything in its power to have the minister dismissed. He fought 
back successfully. 

From its settlement, Stockbridge attracted many visitors because 
of the interest in the Indian Mission and the men who conducted it. 
When Judge Theodore Sedgwick moved his family from Sheffield to 
Stockbridge in 1785, the town began its life as a resort community. 
A brilliant lawyer and a firm patriot, Judge Sedgwick was one of the 
most prominent men in New England. His presence in Stockbridge 
had a marked effect on the town's destiny. As Catherine Sedgwick, his 
daughter, wrote years later: 

My father's public station and frequent residences in town gave him 
a very extensive acquaintance, and his affectionate temper warmed ac- 
quaintance into friendship. There were then no steamers, no railroads, and 
a stage route through our valley but once a week. Gendemen made their 
journeys in private carriages, and, as a matter of course, put up at their 
friends' homes. My father's home was a general depot and when I remem- 
ber how often the great gate swung open for the entrance of traveling 
vehicles, the old mansion seems to me to have resembled much more a 
hostelry of the olden time than the quiet house it now is. My father's 
hospitality was unbounded. 

In the early nineteenth century, Stockbridge was on the main 
route of the stagecoach line between Boston and Albany, and eight 
coaches a day, four each way, made regular stops. During these 
years, Daniel Webster, Martin Van Buren, Harrison Gray Otis, and 
other notables stopped in the town to visit the Sedgwicks or to 
enjoy the hospitality of the Red Lion Inn and the Stockbridge House. 

The removal of the Charles Sedgwicks to Lenox in 1821 and Cath- 
erine's departure did not by any means end Stockbridge 's era of promi- 
nence. Men and women who had visited the town were drawn by 
the quiet country Hfe, the superb scenery, and the congenial com- 
pany. By the i86o's, men began buUding country homes, which were 
as a rule to be occupied only part of the year — usually in the autumn 
when the foliage was most brilliant. 

Midas Touches the Hills 109 

But Stockbridge has never become simply the showplace o£ the 
wealthy; it still retains the right to be called an "aristocratic town" 
rather than merely a rich one. Descendants of the first famlHes have 
kept ancestral homes here, even into the third and fourth generations; 
Dudley Field, a grandnephew of David Dudley Field, WiUiam Ellery 
Sedgwick of the famous Sedgwick family, Henry W. Dwight, whose 
forebear was the early settler. General Joseph Dwight, all make 
Stockbridge more or less a permanent home. Other people of dis- 
tinction established homes in the town, among them Norman H. 
Davis, diplomat, Daniel Chester French, the famous sculptor, and 
Owen Johnson, novelist and statesman. 

Stockbridge never took to large-scale industry. Only in the century 
from 1750 to 1850 were woolens, chairs, and paper produced in limited 
quantities, and hats and hand-wrought nails in sizable lots. Though 
foundries and machine shops also operated during a part of the century, 
no organized manufacturing or heavy industry exists in Stockbridge 
today. A few Stockbridge people work at a sawmill just over the 
Lee town line, others find employment in the textile and paper mills 
in Great Barrington and Lee, and a few commute to Pittsfield to 
work in the General Electric Company. 

The immaculate appearance of Stockbridge is not a matter of acci- 
dent nor of recent planning and care. For over eighty years the town 
has gloried in the achievements of a local improvement society — the 
Laurel Hill Association — organized originally in 1853, the first village 
improvement society in the United States. On LAUREL HILL, a 
slight height at the east end of Main Street where once the Indians 
met in grand council, is a rostrum in memory of Henry D. Sedgwick. 
Through the decades the Association, a model for the rest of the 
country, has planted thousands of trees and miles of hedges; pubHc 
taste has been educated into preserving the beauty of the town. 

The Common is the natural center of interest, and grouped around 
it are stately reminders of Stockbridge's history. 

The present CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, set far back from 
the Common amid tall Norway spruces, was built in 1824. It is a 
handsome modified Georgian structure of red brick, mellowed by 
the elements, and its original small-paned windows and dark green 
shutters have fortunately been preserved. Long balconies surround the 
three sides of the interior, while the fourth side holds the fine walnut 


The Berkshire Hills 

Midas Touches the Hills in 

pulpit, used for the first time in the second structure and later rebuilt 
by David Dudley Field, Marble plaques on either side of the pulpit 
recall the first three missionaries to the Indians, John Sergeant, Jona- 
than Edwards, and Stephen West. 

The large, square TOWN HALL is not the original structure. 
Around the earliest building on this site dramatic events took place 
about 150 years ago. One February dawn in 1787, the ragged debt- 
ridden followers of Daniel Shays, most of them from over the border 
in New York State, rounded up nearly fifty of the "Berkshire gentry," 
rich and powerful Stockbridge citizens. During the six months that 
the southern Berkshire towns were controlled by Shays' men, these 
"silk stockings" were frequently terrorized by mobs of fellow towns- 
people. On the occasion of the kidnaping of the fifty "silk stockings," 
the farmers swooped down during the absence of the Stockbridge 
militia and dragged the aristocrats off to Great Barrington. Before 
the day was over, the rebels had been defeated on an Egremont back- 
road, and the humiliated Stockbridge men returned home. Solomon 
Gleason, the village schoolmaster, had been killed, but doubtless the 
Shays men would have been better pleased if the victim had been 
Judge Theodore Sedgwick, who some time before had led an expe- 
dition which had taken eighty-five rebel prisoners. 

The Judge was absent from Stockbridge the day the "Insurrec- 
tionists" came to town. Invading his home, they found only black 
Mum Bet, a former slave who had made herself a member of the 
Sedgwick family. Warned that the marauders might search the house, 
she had hidden all valuable papers and possessions before the rebels 
appeared on the doorstep. Armed with a kitchen shovel and with 
a countenance that boded no good, she met the troop of farmer-soldiers 
at the door and slowly escorted them through the house. They were 
amused, yet a little in awe of this black-faced hell-cat. Upstairs in the 
chambers, her tongue was as busy as her brain. In her own little bed- 
room, taking her seat on top of a chest — which, in fact, contained the 
family silver at the moment — she supervised the room's search. "Now 
better take a look in dis pore ole nigger's clo'se chest," she urged the 
searchers, adding sarcastically, "seein' as you-all are such gen'lemans." 

"Aw, let the old nigger alone," expostulated a soldier, "there ain't 
anything here except her tongue — and that ain't worth takin'." 

Nevertheless, Mum Bet's tongue saved the Sedgwick silver. 

112 The Ber\shire Hills 

Elizabeth Freeman was her real name, and before becoming a 
servant in the Sedgwick family she had been a slave in the home of 
Colonel Ashley of Sheffield. One day as she tried to shield her sister 
from a shovel-blow, aimed by their mistress in a fit of passion, she 
received a cruel bruise on her arm. Mum Bet left the Ashley house- 
hold and neither commands nor entreaties could move her to return. 
Colonel Ashley resorted to the law to recover possession of his prop- 
erty. The trial took place in Great Barrington and the outraged slave 
was ably defended by Judge Theodore Sedgwick. 

At the time of Mum Bet's emancipation the Constitution of Massa- 
chusetts had just been adopted. The Massachusetts Bill of Rights, 
which stated that "all men are born free and equal," had its first 
practical application when Judge Sedgwick won Mum Bet's freedom. 
She is believed to have been the first slave in Massachusetts legally 
set at liberty. 

Side by side in the old VILLAGE CEMETERY across from the 
Common lie both the early settlers and the famous people of later 
years. Here are buried Cyrus W. Field and his father; Joseph H. 
Choate, brilliant lawyer and one-time Ambassador to the Court of 
St. James; John Sergeant and the innumerable Goodriches, Sergeants, 
and Sedgwicks of Stockbridge history. The grave of Captain John 
Konkapot, chief sachem of the aboriginal Housatonic or Stockbridge 
Indians, is in the extreme southwestern corner. There is a story, per- 
haps legendary, that the original headstone bore an inscription reading 

Here Lies Captaik John Konkapot. 

God, be as good to him as he would be to You 

If he were God and You were John Konkapot. 

Also insistent on past memories is the FIELD CHIME TOWER, 
erected by the eminent lawyer, David Dudley Field. The Tower 
commemorates the site of the Indian mission church. Mr. Field's 
father, the well-known minister, spent the years from 1819 to 1837 
preaching in Stockbridge, although originally he had come to stay 
only a few weeks. After a fourteen-year pastorate at Haddam, Con- 
necticut, he returned here in 1851 to spend his remaining years editing 
one of the best of the Berkshire county histories. His son, David 
Dudley, Junior, won a reputation through his work in effecting legal 














Midas Touches the Hills 113 

reform; another son, Stephen, was renowned as a member of the 
United States Supreme Court. Henry Field followed in his father's 
footsteps, becoming a preacher and later editor of a religious weekly. 
Only recently one of his descendants, Rachel Field, has portrayed this 
least-known of the famous Field brothers in her novel, All This, and 
Heaven Too. Miss Field's book gives the best description we have of 
Stockbridge in the mid-nineteenth century. 

Cyrus West Field was the most illustrious of this family, for he 
it was who founded the Atlantic Cable Company. In 1856 the Ameri- 
can continent was connected with Newfoundland by a submarine 
cable. When two years later a cable was laid between Newfoundland 
and Ireland, Queen Victoria sent the first message to the President 
— James Buchanan — on August 16, 1858. And after the Queen's mes- 
sage the Field family, gathered together in Stockbridge, received a 
message from Cyrus: "The cable is laid!" 

"The cable is laid!" shouted school children running down Stock- 
bridge streets, rejoicing not alone in the cable (which to some of them 
had a vague meaning) but in the fact that school had let out early. 
Bells were rung. Guns were fired. Cyrus Field, who used to take part 
in amateur theatricals at Stockbridge Academy when he was a 
youngster, had become a hero on a worldwide stage! The United 
States Congress voted him a gold medal and the thanks of the Nation, 
while the Prime Minister of England declared that if Field had not 
been a citizen of another country he would have received the highest 
honors within the power of the British Crown. 

The Field Chime Tower, sometimes called "the Children's 
Chimes," was erected in 1878 on the site of the old Indian meeting- 
house. David Dudley Field, Junior, later added a clock and the chime 
of bells which at six on slimmer evenings send out their peal from 
the seventy-five-foot tower. 

Another reminder of the great men of the past is the JONATHAN 
EDWARDS MONUMENT, diagonally opposite the Chime Tower. 
In 1751 the Reverend Jonathan Edwards of Northampton settled here, 
to be paid for his ministry partly in money and partly in firewood. 
The Indians supplied him with eighty loads of wood and the whites 
wdth twenty, indicative of the Indian majority at the time. In 1758, 
when Edwards left his charge, there were only eighteen white families. 
He had come to Stockbridge at a time when his spirits were very low. 

114 The B€r\shire Hills 

for after twenty-three years of indefatigable labor, his previous congre- 
gation had forced him out because of his severe theological beliefs. 
His doctrines, though they had aroused great opposition, were in part 
responsible for New England's most stirring religious epoch, the 
"Great Awakening." Almost an exile in Stockbridge, he devoted his 
six years here to continuation of the missionary work begun by 
Sergeant and to the composition, in the solitude of his study, of the 
great philosophical treatise that preserves his fame. An Inquiry into 
the Freedom of the Will. 

Like many a brilliant student, Edwards was very absent-minded 
and anecdotes have grown up about his failing. At one time, riding 
on horseback, he took a path leading through a pasture, where he 
met a lad who respectfully lifted his hat and opened the gate. The 
great man, who never lacked courtesy, thanked him, asked whose son 
he was, and then rode on. When he returned not long after, the lad 
was still there; the same proceedings were repeated and the same 
question asked. Unappreciative of his interrogator's peculiarity, the boy 
answered with surprise — "Why, sir, I am the same man's son I was 
fifteen minutes ago." 

In the general vicinity of the junction of US 7 and Mass 102, in 
the center of town, are other treasured memorials of the past in Stock- 
bridge. Most impressive in an historical sense is the MISSION 
HOUSE {open summer 10-12.^0; 2-6; Sun. 2-6; winter 2-^ and by 
appoint.; adm. 2^4) ^ ^ third of a mile east of the Common. With the 
help of his Indian friends. Parson Sergeant built it on the hill in 1739. 
When Miss Mabel Choate determined to restore it in memory of her 
father and mother, it was brought down to the center, piece by piece, 
and set up as nearly as possible in its original condition. Now an 
old-fashioned garden of flowers, small vegetable plots, and beds of 
striped grass give it a Colonial setting. Behind the house the original 
well-sweep stands silhouetted above its well-head. The silvery gray 
clapboarded house, with its exquisite doorway brought overland from 
the Connecticut Valley, is one of the gems of Berkshire architecture. 
The two-story frame structure forms a pleasing mass. Though it 
departs from the usual habit of unit composition, its various parts 
are of the same period. Particularly conspicuous are the chimneys, 
oddly placed below the ridge line on the rear slope of the roof, and 
the elaborate paneled doorway accenting an otherwise severe facade. 

Midas Touches the Hills 115 

The "Connecticut Valley" entrance derives from Wren and his fol- 
lowers by way of a baroque interpretation of motifs and details. 

The house, furnished after much research, delights enthusiasts of 
the American antique. Rare pieces of furniture include a dole with 
slats for circulation of air, an oak chest brought over by John Choate 
almost three hundred years ago, crewel work in bird and flower 
designs, and the silver used in the Mission in 1739. This communion 
set had gone as far afield as Red Spring, Wisconsin, where some mem- 
bers of the Stockbridge Indian tribe lived after the dispersal. A few 
years ago their descendants gave it to Stockbridge. 

Edwards probably did not live here and the study shown to 
visitors as his was not the scene of the composition of his famous 
essay on free will. The stern Calvinist's own Stockbridge home stood 
till 1900. In lamenting its destruction, a local antiquarian writes: 

Few towns in America can boast two such Meccas for all literary 
pilgrims as the house where Hawthorne wrote his House of the Seven 
Gables in 1851, and the house where Jonathan Edwards wrote the Free- 
dom of the Will a hundred years earlier — yet the former was burned 
down, and the latter torn down. 

Close beside the Mission House is the FIELD HOUSE, home of 
the Reverend David Field and his illustrious family. 

Perhaps the most famous home on Main Street is SEDGWICK 
HOUSE, belonging to a family so numerous and so influential in 
Stockbridge and Berkshire history that Longfellow remarked on visit- 
ing here that even the crickets sing "Sedgwick, Sedgwick, Sedgwick." 
Judge Theodore and his daughter Catherine were the most famous 
of the clan. Honors came to the renowned "Kate" in the early 1820's. 
Born in Stockbridge, she published her first book, A Netv England 
Tale, in 1822. The novel, written with didactic purpose, "to lend a 
helping hand to some of the humble and unnoticed virtues," made 
such a sensation that she was hailed not only as the first American 
woman writer of note, but also as one of the foremost writers of the 
day. At that time, when she was thirty-three, Washington Irving 
was just being heard of. Cooper was in the throes of his Leather- 
stoc\ing Tales, Nathaniel Hawthorne was a youth of eighteen years, 
and Harriet Beecher Stowe was not yet in her teens. For a quarter of a 
century, until the appearance of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Kate Sedgwick's 

ii6 The Berkshire Hills 

novels were best sellers. She has been described as "heretic, moralist, 
Christian, all in one," but she explained herself far more simply when 
she wrote in her autobiography, "A habit of doing our own thinking 
has always dominated our clan." Miss Sedgwick's revolt against Cal- 
vinism aroused the orthodox of her day. It was equally characteristic 
of her that she resented foreign criticism, notably in the coarse exag- 
gerations of Mrs. Trollope, English writer of travel books, who had 
declared that all the bigotry in America was concentrated upon the 
Berkshire hills. 

At no great distance from the Sedgwick House, there is a natural 
beauty spot, ICE GLEN, described by Timothy Dwight in his Travels 
as a "tremendous geologic convulsion." It is a deep gorge in a wilder- 
ness of growth where ice stays all through the summer. In this 
Berkshire jungle wandered Crazy Bet, a heroine of Kate Sedgwick's 
New England sketches. The author's great-niece, Nathalie Sedgwick 
Colby, herself a novelist, tells in her autobiography. Remembering, of 
the Ice Glen parade, an autumn event of her girlhood. In October, at 
the time of leaf change, a huge bonfire was made, after a torchlight 
procession of maskers in all sorts of costumes had trooped to the 
Glen. Social distinctions were forgotten in this Berkshire Saturnalia. 
The Glen is reached by the first road south of town, off US 7 past 
the railroad bridge. 

Back at the village center, near the junction of the highways, are 
two other notable links with the past. The RED LION INN, which 
replaced a 1774 tavern of the same name, contains the Plumb collec- 
tion of Colonial china, pewter, and furniture. The Inn is now owned 
by a prominent Stockbridge citizen, Mr. Allen Treadway, a member 
of the United States Congress. Across the street is ST. PAUL'S 
CHURCH, whose first structure, built in 1834, was the second oldest 
Episcopal church in Berkshire. The present building, designed by 
McKim, has an interior richly supplied with numerous works of art: 
a baptistry by Saint-Gaudens, a reproduction of Luca della Robbia's 
"Singing Boys," a La Farge stained-glass window, and a Florentine 
pulpit. The clock was a gift of G. P. R. James, the once popular 
historical novelist who was for two years a resident of Stockbridge. 
The chancel furniture was given by Mrs. Franklin Delano, grand- 
mother of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

The modern villas that now occupy Indian lands are in sharp con- 

Midas Touches the Hills 117 

trast to the austerity of the old Mission House, as witness the estates 
on Prospect Hill. The road of that name runs out of Stockbridgc 
Center beside St. Paul's Church. NAUMKEAG, the third estate on 
the left, was the home of Joseph H. Choate, lawyer and diplomat. 
It is now owned by his daughter, who restored the Mission House. 
A curiously Oriental and exotic touch is provided by a pagoda in an 
ornate setting of landscaped gardens and lawn. A marble pedestal 
and the "sacred rock" from Peiping, China, are said to date from the 
Ming Dynasty four or five hundred years ago. 

Choate's brilliance and wit attracted to his home celebrities from 
all over the world. Matthew Arnold, over from England on a visit, 
once caused considerable consternation among the serene folk of 
Stockbridge. Like so many illustrious citizens, Mr. Choate was an 
enthusiastic and wily fisherman. Naturally he wanted to show his 
friend from England what an extraordinary catch might be taken 
from Stockbridge streams. Before Mr. Arnold could try the sport, 
however, he had to purchase a fishing license costing one dollar. No 
sooner had the permit been issued than a caucus of fishermen was 
held in the town hall; fifteen years had been spent in cultivating bass 
in Berkshire waters and it did not seem right that for a paltry fee a 
British subject should be allowed to take the choice catch. 

"Thunderation! That Britisher'll get all our fish!" 

"Humph! He won't have to work very hard, that's sure. Why, 
he's a regular doggone perambulating rainbow! Black bass've got a 
natural failing for gaudy colors, you know." 

"By gollies, you're right! Recollect that day Henry Dean wore his 
crimson chest protector out to Garfield Hole? He caught nineteen 
bass in about an hour!" 

"Yeah. And he took a red-headed boy along, for good measure." 

For a moment the hall was quiet. Each fisherman was conjuring 
up the image of Matthew Arnold, the Britisher, wearing his flam- 
boyant Scotch cap, his vermilion neckpiece, and his gold-colored 
hose. With such a colorful costume to charm the fish — yes, and add 
to this rainbow presence on the lake, the almost inhuman fishing skill 
of Joseph Choate! — the unsophisticated bass around Stockbridge would 
have no chance at all. 

"All I can see," finally vouched an earnest member of the gather- 

ii8 The Ber\shire Hills 

ing, "is that we'll have to set up a counter irritant — something like 
painting Sayles' barn bright blue and his boathouse yellow?" 

"Sure, 'n then invite a Sunday school picnic to play games along 
the lake's banks!" 

It was a good suggestion. The caucus, however, refused to pay for 
paint, and in the end no protective measures were taken against 
Matthew Arnold as a potential menace to Berkshire's prize black bass. 
At half-past seven the following morning the streets of Stockbridge 
were crowded. The spectators watched as the fishing party's para- 
phernalia, including three quarts of worms, were loaded onto a wagon. 

Suddenly a cheer broke from the throats of the watchers. Non- 
chalantly Arnold came into view and with the sight of him, clad in 
corduroy, gray flannels, and a meek cap, hearts and spirits were 
revived. The Britisher himself had taken "protective measures!" 

The day was not auspicious for the fishermen. When he left 
Stockbridge not long after, Arnold is quoted as saying, "If the Ameri- 
can idea of fun is for three men to broil nine straight hours in a 
flat-bottomed boat for the sake of three small pumpkin seeds and one 
perch, I regret my own lack of power to appreciate it." Evidently 
there were compensations for this experience, for on his return he 
wrote his daughter, then in America: 

You cannot think how often Stockbridge and its landscape come into 
my mind. None of the cities could attach me, not even Boston, but I 
could get fond of Stockbridge . . . 

Many people have grown fond of Stockbridge; not only of its 
landscape, but of its gusto for arts and letters. There is even a summer 
dramatic season in the old Casino, a handsome structure designed 
by McKim. It once stood on the present site of the Mission House, 
but in 1927 the Three Arts Society moved the building east of the 
High School, on Main Street, and converted it into the BERKSHIRE 
PLAYHOUSE. Since the opening of the theater the following year, 
some of the most famous players in America have appeared upon its 
stage. Playing nightly, with a Wednesday matinee, for nine or ten 
weeks each season, the Playhouse had up to 1938 presented some three 
hundred actors and actresses in more than a hundred plays. Guest 
stars have included Ina Claire, Ethel Barrymore, Walter Connolly, 

Midas Touches the Hills 119 

Katharine Cornell, Katharine Hepburn, Claude Rains, Donald Meek, 
Jane Wyatt, Sylvia Field, and Henry Hull. 

The Playhouse features an Art Exhibit during late summer or 
early fall. Prizes are awarded for the best landscape, portrait, pastel, 
and etching. Early in the twentieth century this region caught the 
imagination of artists — among them Daniel Chester French, Frederic 
Crowninshield, Walter Nettleton, Lydia Field Emmet, and Marie 
Kobbe — and they initiated the exhibition. 

The music center lies out in the other end of town, on the edge 
of Lenox. Take Main Street (Mass 102) west to Mass 183, and turn 
right. Close to the town line in INTERLAKEN is one of the large 
outlying estates, which attracts unusual public interest. It was created 
as a show place by Dan R. Hanna, son of President McKinley's close 
friend and political adviser, Mark Hanna. Each July the Lenox Horse 
Show is held here; a two-day exhibition, dating from the '90's, it 
brings a fashionable sporting set from many states. The Lenox Dog 
Show is another well-established institution which makes use of 
Interlaken, but its entries are largely from local kennels. The Bit and 
Bridle Club has privately owned trails here. 

Crystal-clear Mahkeenac Lake lies off to the right of the road, not 
far beyond Interlaken. The Indian name, meaning the "Great Water," 
displeased Miss Sedgwick because it would not fit easily into poetry. 
Her suggestion of the name STOCKBRIDGE BOWL has been gen- 
erally accepted. 

On the high ground overlooking the Bowl, on the left-hand side 
of Mass 183, is "SHADOWBROOK COTTAGE," a large house 
which takes its name from Hawthorne's Wonder Boo/(^. Only a corner 
of the estate is in Stockbridge. When the "Cottage" was built (1892- 
1894), it was the largest private residence in America. Its hundred 
rooms cover an acre of floor space; the wide main staircase would 
accommodate a coach and four, and the dining room a hundred 
guests. Such palatial grandeur cost its builder, Anson Phelps Stokes, 
half a million dollars. Later Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt lived at 
"Shadowbrook," and sold it to Andrew Carnegie, who died here in 
1919. A sprawling English Gothic structure with scarlet roof and gray 
stone exterior, this thousand-acre estate is outmatched in Berkshire 
only by the Tytus Palace in Tyringham and the enormous caravansary 
of Barrington House in Great Barrington. At present the Jesuit order 

120 The Berkshire Hills 

owns the estate, using it to house Saint Stanislaus School for 

On the northern shore of the Bowl once stood a little red cottage, 
where harassed Nathaniel Hawthorne came in 1850 with his family. 
He had been recently saddened by the death of his mother, and was 
embarrassed because the new Whig President, Zachary Taylor, had 
dismissed him from his post in the Salem Custom House. Brooding 
over what he considered the treachery of former friends, he was 
morose and unsociable, writing from his Berkshire retreat, "Here I 
feel remote and quite beyond companionship." His children, however, 
enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Years later his son Julian wrote: 

To us children, the succession of summer, autumn, winter and spring 
was like the coming of four delightful playmates, one after the other, and 
we knew not which we loved the best. Our father and mother were our 
playmates, too, without whom the others would have lost their charm . . . 
The great thing for us in winter was the coasting. We had a sled big 
enough to hold my father with us children on his back . . . After the 
coasting we would come glowing in, and after our snow-besprinkled 
jackets and tippets had been taken off, we would eat a big supper and 
go happy to bed . . . And then another day of glorious pleasure! 

Hawthorne developed a most intimate companionship with Herman 
Melville, who was then living a few miles north in Pittsfield at his 
"Arrowhead" farm. Hawthorne had just written The Scarlet Letter, 
which Melville reviewed sympathetically in the New Yor\^ Literary 
World. Hawthorne appreciated the review, but at first neither wished 
to presume on what he had said or done. Later they became friends 
as a result of a rainstorm. While walking together they were forced 
to take shelter in a recess on the west side of Monument Mountain; 
there, safe from the rain, they talked themselves into friendship. 
When Melville used to approach "Red Shanty," as Hawthorne called 
his Tanglewood cottage, a shout would go up "Here comes Typee!" 
the pet name the family had given Melville. During the summers of 
1849 and 1850, the huge Arrowhead barn in Pittsfield often sheltered 
the two men, reclining on hay, deep in conversation. 

While Melville was writing Moby Dic\, he would often walk over 
to Tanglewood from Pittsfield and tell the Hawthorne children hair- 
raising stories of naked savages, evil-smelling whale ships, and 
"summer isles of Eden." 

Midas Touches the Hills 121 

"Did Mr. Melville leave his black club here?" Mrs. Haw^thorne 
once asked her husband after Melville had taken his leave. 

"What club?" 

"Oh, the one he was laying about with when he told us the 
story of how the captain cleared the deck of the savages," replied Mrs. 
Hawthorne with a twinkle. 

Julian pondered and looked for the club. Nor did he at that time 
understand his father's answer: "That club is like Macbeth's dagger." 

Despite Melville's powers as a teller of tales, Julian admits that in 
later years he could recall "much more substantially" Luther Buder, 
the milkman. "He and my father," he writes, "were great friends and 
never gave each other any trouble. We drank his milk and he never 
read my father's books." 

Just before leaving Berkshire, Hawthorne ended his The Snow 
Image and Other Tales, dating the preface "Lenox, Nov. i, 1851." 
Neither he nor Mrs. Hawthorne considered themselves residents of 
Stockbridge; entries in the American Notebook^ are made under 
"Lenox" and letters written as from there. Tanglewood was nearer 
the Lenox post office than it was to Stockbridge Center. A recent 
Lenox chronicler says: 

Hawthorne and all who built villas in this part of the town have been 
solely identified with Lenox life. Technically it is true that Hawthorne's 
home was in Stockbridge; the novelist could flip a stone over the line 
into Lenox, wrote "Lenox" in his notebooks, went to the Lenox post 
office daily for his mail, and was identified in every way with Lenox. 

In the serenity of this place Hawthorne wrote his House of Seven 
Gables, Wonder Boo\, and Tanglewood Tales, but he never fully 
accepted the Berkshires as home. At one time in a spirit of dire pes- 
simism he wrote: "I hate Berkshire with my whole soul and would 
joyfully see its mountains laid flat." 

A few visitors may come to TANGLEWOOD to see where Haw- 
thorne Hved and wrote, but it is the Symphonic Festival that really 
brings Berkshire people out. The idea of creating an American music 
festival was suggested by the famous Salzburg concerts. The first con- 
cert, conducted by the late Dr. Henry Hadley, composer and con- 
ductor, was held August, 1934, on Dan Hanna's Stockbridge estate, 

122 The Ber\shire Hills 

Interlaken. The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra gave 
three concerts before an audience of about two thousand people. 

In 1935 the Berkshire Festival Society was incorporated, and two 
years later the permanence of its program was assured when Mrs. 
Gorham Brooks of Boston presented Tanglewood, her family estate, 
for the Festival's future home. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, 
under Serge Koussevitzky, agreed to play at six concerts. A large 
tent, holding five thousand people, was provided, crowds poured into 
Lenox and Stockbridge from every point of the compass, and the 
music was broadcast over a national hookup with Olin Downes as 

During the 1937 concerts, a storm climaxed by a cloudburst dra- 
matically interrupted an all-Wagner program. Conflict with the 
weather crystallized an idea to provide a music shed as protection 
from sun and rain. Within a few months more than eighty thousand 
dollars were collected for the needed improvement, itself a triumph 
of engineering and architectural invention. The shed, constructed of 
three hundred odd tons of steel, has a roof of two-inch planks and 
an exterior of a sound-deadening composition. The main auditorium 
holds almost six thousand people and three thousand more may sit 
in the colonnade. 

LENOX itself was described in the early nineteenth century as "a 
bare and ugly litde village dismally bleak and uncouth." This was 
before Midas had touched the hills and lowlands with his golden 
wand, and people of wealth and fashion had found their way here 
to build elaborate villas on great estates. 

It was in 1750 that Jonathan Hinsdale, the first settler, built his 
house at the foot of what is now called Court House Hill in Lenox 
Center. He wasn't far ahead of Messrs. Cooper, Stephens, and 
Dickinson, who, somewhat later in the same year, also became "first 
settlers." Other pioneers followed from Connecticut and southern 
Berkshire to take up land in the little community that was named 
Yokuntown after Chief Yokun, a Stockbridge Indian. A rough Indian 
path was the plantation's only connection with the outside world. 
This trail wound up through deep forests from Shefiield along the 
Housatonic River, through Great Barrington, and, passing into Stock- 
bridge, ended at Yokuntown. 

Midas Touches the Hills 123 

Yokuntown only once experienced the disaster of an Indian raid. 
A band of Schagticokes from the Hudson River Valley, bent on re- 
venging the death of one of their tribesmen, penetrated western Berk- 
shire as far as the new white settlement, spreading terror in their path. 
Houses were burned, a woman was shot and another rescued just as 
she was about to be scalped. The panic-stricken settlers fled to Stock- 
bridge, but soon returned to put up new homes on their half-cleared 
fields. There were no more raids, and the only Indian trouble hence- 
forth experienced was over acquisition of land. 

In 1762, when the provincial government proposed to sell at auction 
ten townships in the eastern section of "Indian lands," the Stockbridge 
Mahicans registered so threatening a protest that on the day of the 
sale it was deemed wise to grant ;^ 1,000 from the public treasury 
"providing said Indians shall release all claims to any lands in the 
province to which they pretend a title." In the end the Indians were 
paid the unusually high price of £i,yoo for the tract which included 
Yokuntown and Mt. Ephraim, and Lenox was separated from its 
western neighbor, Richmond. In 1767 the town was incorporated and 
named for Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond, a friend of the 

During the Revolution, Lenox was Tory-infested, according to 
petitions sent to the General Court regarding a 

Large Number of Persons who not long since were apprehended in said 
County as Dangerous Persons, they had a fair & impartial Trial before a 
Special Court of the General Sessions of the Peace & a very respectable 
Jury for that Purpose, were found guilty after a lengthy, deliberate and 
expensive Trial, of such base, Wicked & inimical Conduct that their resi- 
dence any longer with us, was Judged to be Dangerous . . . The Court 
upon the verdict of the Jury ordered Edward Martindale & Elisha Martin- 
dale, John Burgheadt, 3d, Gideon Smith and James Taylor to be con- 
ducted to the Board of War . . . Now while we were solacing ourselves, 
that Justice had taken Place & that the Sentence would soon be put in 
execution . . . behold a number of these Persons made their Appearance 
in this County . . . some of them are guilty of braking open Continental 
Stores and Stealing large quantitys of goods, & attempting to justify their 
Conduct by saying we had taken the same Goods from their King. 

An almost fatal yet successful attempt was made to convert the 
Tory, Gideon Smith, and force him to take the oath of allegiance to 

124 ^^^ Berkshire Hills 

the Continental Congress. He was strung up twice by the local Com- 
mittee of Safety until, choking and half dead, he consented to take 
the oath. Smith then hid in a cave at the base of October Mountain 
near the present New Lenox. His wife and children walked back 
and forth before his hiding place so that he might glance at them 
through the opening of the cave. TORY CAVE, as it is called, is 
merely a cleft in the rocks in which, it is true, a man might sit, but 
it must have been larger and better roofed when Smith used it as 
a refuge. 

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, Lenox was a flourishing 
community with an iron foundry, marble quarry, hearthstone mill, 
and glass factory. As the county population gradually shifted to 
the north and Lenox was near the center of the area, its leading 
citizens, puffed with civic pride, petitioned in 1782 to have it replace 
Great Barrington as shire town. Despite vigorous opposition from 
Pittsfield, in 1787 Lenox was awarded the plum. By 1816 the present 
dignified, white county COURT HOUSE (now the Lenox Library) 
was completed in the center of the village. 

With the arrival of the court, a new busde came to the growing 
town. An old newspaper, under the heading "Lenox in Court Week," 
gives an idea of activity in town about a hundred years ago. 

The goddess has occupied her throne here for more than a week past, 
and our village has abounded with judges and jurors, lawyers and litigants, 
prosecutors and prosecuted. To us who live in the country the occasion is 
quite imposing. It presents us with a vast variety of characters: young 
attorneys in the bustle of new-found business and the older ones assuming 
more and more the dignified gravity of the bench; waiting jurymen 
chatting in litde clusters by the wayside; worrying clients complaining of 
sleepless nights; witnesses of all orders, sizes, sexes and ages; spectators 
trading horses in the street, and politicians smoking over government 
affairs in the bar-room. Our boarding-houses have long tables lined on 
both sides with earnest applicants, and all expect more business. Messages 
are sent and errands done between one end of the county and the other, 
business accounts are setded, plans laid; caucuses, conventions and singing- 
schools agreed upon; newspapers subscribed for, and distant matters in 
general arranged for the ensuing winter. 

The Court House remained a center of Berkshire life until 1868, when 
Pittsfield became the county seat. 

Midas Touches the Hills 125 

Charles Sedgwick, son of Judge Theodore Sedgwick of Stock- 
bridge, is credited with "discovering" Lenox. He moved there in 1821, 
and his famous sister, Catherine, soon came to live with him. Almost 
immediately their home became the gathering place of the literati of 
the day. In 1837 the first visitor from a distance, a New Orleans 
woman, built a house there. By 1846 the rich and powerful Samuel 
Ward, American agent of Baring Brothers, London bankers, gave his 
cachet to the town by building "Highwood," a palatial estate. 

The sylvan retreat began to change into a resort where society spent 
its summers and autumns to await the opening of the winter season 
back in the cities. First the newcomers bought cottages, then they 
bought land and more land. On their newly acquired acres they built 
magnificent estates, like regal palaces, each vying with his neighbor 
to own the more beautiful dwelling. Thus Continental architecture 
crowded out the simplicity of the old Colonial styles. The town was 
a facsimile of Newport — an inland Newport where blue mountains 
were the equivalent of sand and rolUng surf. Gone completely was 
the little Calvinist setdement that had been Lenox. 

To name the famous people in the town during the last half of the 
nineteenth century would be like reading from pages of the Social 
Register. There were Harrimans, Stuyvesants, Aspinwalls, Crockers, 
Adamses, Biddies, Vanderbilts, Sloanes, and many others. A gay social 
round replaced the old informal life. 

Wherever you go in the town, whatever route you take in entering 
it, you will see romantic villas and pretentious mansions. Set far 
back from the public thoroughfares, these houses are like enchanted 
palaces about which, as though in mockery to the curious, hedges 
have grown high and close. There is perfection of landscape on every 
side, but the dominating motif of it all is to conceal. 

These "enchanted palaces" have, in the true fairy-tale tradition, 
turned into white elephants today, awaiting the magic touch of a 
buyer. Not long ago in Lenox, as in all America, the more rooms 
there were in a house, the merrier. Now the trains of servants are 
gone and the rooms are getting dusty. For modern life calls for high- 
powered, compact dwellings, not sprawling, many-roomed mansions. 
With the passing of the heads of many of the old families, houses 
and gates have been closed and barred. One after another the grand 
residences are being struck off to buyers who want them for dairy 

126 The Berkshire Hills 

farms and hotels or else to cut up their grounds into a number of 
lots and sell them to prosperous business men and industrial execu- 
tives seeking refuge from nearby noisier towns. 

Because Lenox is spread out over a broad area and because there 
are so many ways by which to enter the town, better start your ramble 
around the town from Lenox Center, at the CURTIS HOTEL on 
US 7 and 20. Since 1773 there has been a hostelry on this site. The 
Curtis House, built in 1834, replaced the Berkshire Coffee House. The 
pleasant hostelry with its wide verandas and old-fashioned rooms was 
a rendezvous of county judges and lawyers who came to toast their 
shins at the open fires and talk over their latest cases before court 

Near the middle of the century Fanny Kemble, the actress- 
authoress, used to sojourn at Curtis's before she bought her own home 
in Lenox. One day while waiting for her spachcook to be served 
(a dish of which she was extremely fond) she turned upon a man 
standing near the office desk with the words: 

"You should remove your hat. Gentlemen always remove their 
hats in my presence," 

"But I'm not a gentleman, ma'am," protested the man, "I'm a 

Fanny Kemble, of course, was pleased with such a reply, and she 
and the butcher became great friends from then on. That was the 
sort of person Fanny was. 

For the traveler who puckers his forehead at the name of Fanny 
Kemble, it may be well to explain here and now just who this re- 
markable woman was who has left such a train of reminiscences in 
Lenox. That is, if anyone can explain Fanny. Born into a family 
of English actors and actresses, she was destined to become a brilliant 
success in the world of the theater. Her American debut came in 
1832. Two years later, after a blaze of glory in which she was the 
idol of the day, she married Pierce Butler, scion of a distinguished 
and wealthy Southern family and joint heir to a Georgia plantation 
and a host of slaves. 

Some of the best, most authentic pictures of slavery as an institu- 
tion in the deep South during pre-Civil War days have been left by 
Fanny Kemble in her notebooks written during the seven years of 
her married life. Eventually Pierce Butler divorced his wife, and 

Midas Touches the Hills 




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128 The Berkshire Hills 

Fanny, brooding and lonely, found a sanctuary in Lenox, where her 
dear friends Catherine and Charles Sedgwick Hved. Before long her 
personality, her sympathies, and above all her courageous spirit, made 
her the center of the literary group then living in Lenox. Statesmen 
admired her, in particular Charles Sumner, who renewed a pleasant 
friendship with her in 1844 while he was in this region for a few 
weeks. Longfellow, many times a visitor here, shared Sumner's ad- 
miration and wrote a sonnet in praise of her readings. Her intel- 
lectual genius is attested by Sumner's statement that the brilliance of 
her conversation made him feel "inferior." 

Next to the Curtis House is an admirable old building with hand- 
hewn columns and graceful doors. For over half a century it was 
the Court House, but when Pittsfield became the shire town in 1868, 
the building was abandoned. Now it is the LENOX LIBRARY, one 
of the few Berkshire structures excelling in architectural design. Isaac 
Damon, champion of the Greek revival, planned the building with a 
simple, rectangular form, a facing of the heavy orders, and a well- 
studded, round, open cupola. In 1873, Mrs. Augustus Schermerhorn 
gave the building to the town, to be known as the Charles Sedgwick 

The square white building across the road, a little beyond the 
Library, is the old LENOX ACADEMY, founded in 1803. From it 
were graduated such men as Mark Hopkins, Julius Rockwell, Charles 
Sedgwick, and Anson Jones, the second president of the Texas Re- 
public. The school closed its doors in 1910. 

Among tall trees at the junction of the two main routes of travel 
(US 7 and 20) is TRINITY MEMORIAL CHURCH, whose attrac- 
tive modern structure was dedicated by President Arthur in 1888. The 
Episcopalian Society was formed as early as 1793, though the first 
church was not built until 1816. 

The first observance of the Saviour's natal day in Berkshire is said 
to have been at a Christmas party given by the Episcopalians of the 
town to the smaller fry, the Congregationalists, the Baptists, and the 
Presbyterians, for the furthering of better social relations. It was a 
grand red-and-green gathering where everybody had fun and where, 
after a banquet, there was dancing that was both sedate and risque, 
including, as it did, the very proper square dances of the day, the 
almost proper mazurka (very modern, a recent importation from 



Midas Touches the Hills 129 

Poland), the not-so-proper schottische and two-step polka, of late 
popularized in America by the Marquis de Lafayette, and the frankly 
improper, highly seductive new dance called the waltz. 

Beyond the church on Kemble Street, a group of yellow clap- 
boarded buildings on the slope of the hill faces the distant mountains. 
In 1926 the Episcopal Church opened here the LENOX SCHOOL 
FOR BOYS; about seventy-five students are enrolled. Mrs. Charles 
Sedgwick's exclusive school for young ladies, a well-known institution 
from 1828-64, was nearby. Catherine Sedgwick hved here, and both 
Charlotte Cushman, the actress, and Harriet Hosmer, the sculptress, 
attended the school as pupils. 

About half a mile beyond on the left side of Kemble Street are 
the ornate gates and high grillwork of BELLEFONTAINE, Giraud 
Foster's magnificent estate. A litde distance south on the opposite side 
of the road is the BISHOP ESTATE, where in 1851 Fanny Kemble 
bought a house which she named "The Perch." Here she spent many 
years between her stage tours and her trips abroad. Near the en- 
trance to the estate and just within the grounds is a little marker 
half -circled by trees, designating the site of the Kemble cottage. The 
owners of the property, David W. Bishop and his son Cortlandt Field 
Bishop, startled the populace — both human and equine — in the late 
'90's by roaring through the streets in a motorized tricycle imported 
from Paris. When the smoke blew away, Mr. Bishop found himself 
involved in a lawsuit. A speed limit, enacted "solely to restrain Mr. 
Bishop," read: 

No vehicle propelled by any motive power other than horses, mules, 
donkeys, catde or hogs shall be allowed to pass over any of the streets 
or public ways of the Town of Lenox at a rate of speed more than six (6) 
miles per hour, or to use any portion of said street or ways except the 
right-hand portion of the traveled part of said streets or ways within six 
feet of the ditch. 

It is said that the by-law of which this regulation was a part has 
never been repealed. Present-day motorists may well be wary. 

Cortlandt Field Bishop was cut from the same piece of cloth as 
his father, and the cloth was far from Quaker gray. All ways of travel 
intrigued him. Bishop himself was no back number at manipulating 
divers machines. In 1923 he got out of France and into the United 

130 The Ber\shire Hills 

States with a tractor-automobile which had been developed secretly by 
the French Army for use in the Sahara. He used it in Lenox to plow 
snow and carry mail. 

Not far beyond the Bishop estate a winding drive leads from 
Kemble Street to the entrance of THE MOUNT, formerly the villa 
of the American novelist, Mrs. Edith Wharton. The house, in a 
setting of smooth lawns and formal gardens, is a copy of "Belton," 
a famous early Georgian manor in Lincolnshire. The setting of her 
popular story, Ethan Frome, is said to be somewhere in the Stock- 
bridge countryside — an allegation not undisputed. The Anglo-Ameri- 
can novelist, Henry James, was one of many famous visitors at "The 
Mount," where to the end of her life Mrs. Wharton spent such time 
as she could. 

The neighboring place is HOLMWCKDD, which Mrs. Margaret 
Emerson has recently sold to the Fox Hollow School fbr Girls. For- 
merly it was the home of George Westinghouse, the electrical mag- 
nate. In 1887 Mrs. Westinghouse was advised by her physician to 
live in the Berkshires. She and her husband spent the summer of 
that year in Lenox, and were so charmed with their place that later 
they bought several farms, creating the extensive estate then called 
Erskine Park. Mr. Westinghouse set up a power station to provide 
lights for the house and stables. Electric lights, rare at this time, were 
usually hung on the gas fixtures with no attempt to conceal the wires. 
Mrs. Westinghouse suggested a special molding for the fixtures at 
the joining of ceiling and wall, thus toning down the brilliance of 
the light but still giving sufficient illumination for ordinary use. At 
first her husband opposed the idea, but finally agreed to try it out, 
and Erskine Park with its 1500 indirect lights attracted such attention 
that the idea was quickly copied. 

Turning back toward town on Stockbridge Street, when Kemble 
Street brings you to it at the Fox Hollow School sign, not far beyond 
the WHITE ESTATE you wiU find a small MARKER beside the 
road in memory of Jonathan Hinsdale, the first white man to settle 
in Lenox. The marker explicitly states that "his grave is in the church- 
yard on the hill." Although his long, last home is on the heights, 
he built his house, contrary to the custom of most of the Berkshire 
pioneers, in the valley. 

The Hinsdale Marker is only a short distance from Mass 183. 

Midas Touches the Hills 131 

If you'd like a drive into the woods, go left on this highway, and 
swing north on West Road, which leads past Lenox Mountain, on 
whose lower slopes is the PLEASANT VALLEY SANCTUARY. 
Since 1929, by the generosity of some Lenox residents, this tract has 
been set aside as a safe retreat for Berkshire bird and plant life. An 
inviting little cottage opens its doors to guests to provide rest and 
food. Cool walks lure the traveler through the woods, where there 
are miles of hiking trails, trout streams, and sequestered wild gardens 
with now and then a rare plant or flower to delight the finder. Furni- 
ture and various articles illustrative of early Berkshire life and of 
industries in the county are exhibited in the OLD BARN, which is 
also a museum of natural history. In the forest are good snowshoe 
paths, and an extension of the Sky Line Trail offers the skier con- 
nection with the Bosquets Ski Run in Pittsfield. To the south another 
ski trail goes down to the Beartown Mountain State Forest. 

There are still other things to be seen in Lenox, and you'll want 
to return from the Sanctuary over Cliflwood Road, which will take 
you to US 20 and 7. The interesting structure at the foot of the hill, 
north of the center of Lenox, is ST. ANN'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, 
which has on one side a lovely grotto sacred to Our Lady of Lourdes. 
Rocks from the River Jordan, the Sea of Galilee, Lourdes, and Ireland 
have been brought together to form a shrine. 

One of the finest examples of Berkshire Colonial architecture is the 
CHURCH ON THE HILL, dedicated in 1805 as the successor to the 
first religious edifice in the town. It dominates the scene almost as 
much as do the surrounding hills. When Fanny Kemble arrived in 
Lenox years ago, she offered to give a "reading" for the poor, only 
to be told, "We have no poor." Instead of giving alms to the non- 
existent needy, Fanny Kemble, out of the proceeds of a single night's 
performance, gave a clock for the tower of this church. The building 
has not been in use during the past half century except in the months 
from May to November, since it is still heated, as in the early days, 
only by two sheet-iron stoves and lighted by kerosene lamps. Undoubt- 
edly the most memorable address ever heard from the old pulpit was 
the fire and brimstone sermon of Dr. Samuel Shepard, preached in 
1806, when Ephraim Wheeler, who had been convicted of a capital 
offense, was taken from the jail to the church on a bob-sled and 
forced to listen to a vivid description of his probable fate in the next 

132 The Berkshire Hills 

If you are headed for Lee when you leave Lenox, there are alternate 
routes to choose between. From the Center, Housatonic Street will 
take you east through Lenox Station, at the foot of October Mountain, 
through Lenoxdale, past scenery that is perhaps as good as Berkshire 
offers, and into the adjacent town. The road is excellent, the natural 
beauties superior to those along the other route, US 20. 

The national highway, if that be your choice, runs over Walker 
Street from the Center. Beyond the point where Walker Street leaves 
US 20 is BEECHER HILL, named in memory of the popular min- 
ister, Henry Ward Beecher, who had a farm here. He bought it, so he 
said, for a place "to lie down upon." The charm of Lenox and the 
beauty of his own bit of land so impressed him that he wrote Star 
Papers to expound the glories of the Berkshires. "I can see," he wrote, 
"sixty miles by simply rolling an eyeball." 

It was on Beecher Hill that John Sloane, a wealthy carpet manu- 
facturer, later built his rambling and lordly structure, "Wyndhurst," 
now one of the buildings of the CRANWELL SCHOOL FOR 
BOYS, opening in September, 1939, under the direction of the Jesuit 

On the southern e;dge of the Club grounds, Cross Road rims to 
LENOXDALE, a mile and a half southeast of Lenox. Years ago 
Lenox Furnace, as it was then called, was bent on being an industrial 
center; it had textile and paper mills, and, according to local boasts, 
the largest glass factory under a single roof. Even in the eighteenth 
century, the sand from this part of the Berkshires was especially 
valued. The "Glass Works Grant" of 1757, consisting of 1500 acres 
just south of Lenox Furnace, was given by the General Court to 
promote glass-making at Germantown, near Boston. Only the great 
pit from which the sand for glass manufacture was taken remains, 
for there has been no glass factory at Lenoxdale since 1880. Iron was 
worked here from 1780 to i860. Shortly after the mines were aban- 
doned, in November, 1862, the subterranean galleries and corridors, 
honeycombing the main street of Lenox, yawned open to swallow a 
house up to the second story. 

Two small units of a Lee paper concern and the plant of a tobacco 
company are the sole survivors of a once lively industrial settlement. 
Lenoxdale, and to a lesser degree LENOX STATION, a half-mile 
or so east, have always been more closely related to Lee, both in per- 

Midas Touches the Hills 133 

sonality and appearance, than to the town of which they are actually 
a part. The settlements hardly fit into the picture of the aristocratic, 
almost baronial Lenox with its mansions and estates. 

Despite depressions, social changes, and the passing of many of 
the old famihes, Lenox, like a proud dowager, moves amid her 
luxurious surroundings, and carries on her sober revels in this "autum- 
nal resort of fashion." Just as a hundred years ago, so today is Lenox 
admired with the ardor of Fanny Kemble when she praised 

a landscape that combines every variety of beauty — valleys in the hollows 
of which lie small lakes glittering like sapphires; uplands, clothed with 
green fields and orchards and studded with every variety of forest tree; 
the woods — some wild, some tangled and all but impenetrable, others clear 
of underbrush, shady, cool, moss-carpeted and sun-checkered; noble masses 
of granite rocks, great shafts of marble, clear movmtain brooks; and a 
full, free, flowing sparkling river. 

Chapter VII 

LEE — US 20, sett. 1760, alt. 888, pop, 4178. 

Roads — US 20, southeast from Lenox, runs directly to Lee Center. 

LEE, compared to Berkshire's orchid towns next door, Stockbridge 
and Lenox, is quiet and unostentatious. There isn't anything styHsh 
about the town; the streets are narrow, the trim houses modest, and 
the people occupied with the everyday job of earning a living in the 
paper mills and the marble quarry. 

Cape Cod and Connecticut Yankees were the first settlers, sturdy, 
independent folk determined to make a home in the wilderness for 
their families of ten or a dozen. In the 1840's the railroad brought 
the Irish, speaking an English dialect new to the town, men quick 
to laugh and to defend themselves, always willing to work. Last of 
all, in the second half of the century, arrived the Italians, artisans who 
knew how to slice and carve marble, and to conquer antagonism 
aroused by a foreign tongue and Old World customs. 

Though today Lee wears the self-assured air that comes with a 
long tradition, actually for thirty years after Great Barrington, Shef- 
field, and Egremont had been settled and for twenty years after the 
founding of Tyringham, Stockbridge, and New Marlborough the 
territory lay untouched. Isaac Davis, from over Tyringham way, gets 
the credit of founding the town in 1760. For ten years, few followed 
him. By 1770 John Winegar, a German, knew of only thirteen families 
in the region. But as more and more hamlets began to grow up in 
Berkshire, amazing tales drifted back to the Atlantic seaboard. There 
were people in Connecticut who had already grown discontented 
with the stony acres that had fallen to their lot. Not everyone on Cape 
Cod wished to risk a berth in Davy Jones' locker, and farming the 
sand dunes was a fool's occupation. When battles at sea during the 
Revolutionary War made shipping and fishing poor business, residents 


Bread Out of Stones and Paper 135 

of Sandwich and Barnstable began to push west through the wil- 

In the vanguard of these newcomers was Captain Joseph Crocker, 
riding on horseback with his aged mother on a pillion behind him, 
and the rest of the family trundling along in an oxcart. Captain "Jo^" 
had learned to spin a yarn with the best of them during his dog 
watches at sea, and though his tales wouldn't always hold water, 
they held attention. Eager ears were turned to the fabulous stories 
about the Housatonic River Valley sent home by Captain Joe and 
his friends. Along its banks, so the tale went, the sod was so rich it 
dripped grease if you hung it in the sun. The hogs fattened so fast 
in the pastures, they ran around squealing "Kill me! Kill me!" The 
children grew so tanned and sturdy that the setders mistook their own 
offspring for Indian youngsters strayed from the few remaining tribes 
— all peaceful, of course. Part of the story must be buncombe, but the 
other half had to be Gospel truth. Even Joe Crocker's imagination 
wasn't that good. 

Gullible Cape Codders were taken in. At first they plodded over a 
blazed trail through the forest, the hard way. Then came the snow, 
eight feet of it. To Cape people, for whom the Atlantic had always 
been a friend, this strange, white drifted ocean was cold and threaten- 
ing. Shivering around camp fires, they fashioned snowshoes and 
pushed on toward the hills. Later they sent their household goods by 
water from the Cape to Hudson, New York, and thence overland in 

The Cape settlement centered along Cape Street in East Lee. The 
setders built their one-room log houses on the hillsides overlooking 
Jacob's Ladder between Springfield and Pittsfield. In the South Lee 
area, and over to the west, were other pioneers, among them Reuben 
Pixley, for whom Pixley Mountain was named. The memory of 
William Ingersoll, one of the most important men in the early settle- 
ment, endures in the patriarchal inscription on his tombstone: 

Sacred to the memory of 
William Ingersoll 
Who was one of the first 
Settlers of this town and one 
of the first, who in 1780 were 
formed into a Church in this 

136 The Berkshire Hills 

place. Satisfied with living 
and rejoicing in hope of Glory 
he died, Aug. 10, 1815, 
Aged 91 years and 4 mos., 
leaving behind him, in this 
dying world, 149 descendants. 

In an epitaph, Jesse Bradley, who came in 1773 from New Haven, 
Connecticut, described himself with Biblical exactitude, as 

. . . the son of Daniel Bradley, 
who was the son of Daniel Bradley, 
who was the son of Abraham Bradley, 
who was the son of William Bradley, 
, who was one of the first 

settlers in New Haven in 1637. 

The Footes of Lee were powers in the community. According to 
persistent story, Nathaniel Foote concealed young Charles the Second 
of England in an oak, to hide him away from pursuers — as in the 
Old Primer couplet: 

The Royal Oak it was the tree 
That saved his Royal Majesty. 

The grateful king is said to have rewarded his benefactor with a 
tract of land in the Massachusetts Bay Province which included the 
whole territory of Lee. The Foote coat-of-arms depicts King Charles 
being awkwardly assisted into the oak by Nathaniel, who turns an 
apprehensive eye toward heaven. Unfortunately for this apparent con- 
firmation of legend, Nathaniel Foote had migrated to Watertown 
before September, 1634, when Charles the Second was only four years 
old. He died when King Charles was about fourteen years of age, 
and the Battle of Worcester, after which Charles was secreted, was 
fought when Foote had been dead fully seven years. Nathaniel Foote, 
moreover, was a Puritan, a-nd if he had been in England at the time, 
and alive, he would have been on Cromwell's side. It's too bad; they 
enjoy the story in Berkshire. 

Very early the Dutch from New York settled in Lee, as the names 
Freese, Houck, Van Deusen, and Van Tassel in early town records 

Bread Out of Stones and Paper 137 

bear witness. At Cornhill, a farm owned by one of these Dutch resi- 
dents, Martin Van Buren used to visit as a small boy. 

Lee, the twenty-first town incorporated in the county, was named 
in 1777 in honor of Major General Charles Lee of the Revolutionary 
Army, in his time almost as famous a soldier as Washington. The 
town had previously been called by various names, among them 
"Hoplands," because of the wild hops along Hop Brook. 

The first town meeting was held in 1777 at Peter Wilcox's cabin 
in the center of the community, now the site of the CARNEGIE 
MEMORIAL LIBRARY. On that December morning, there were 
twenty offices to fill and twenty-five men to fill them. Three years 
later the meeting had to adjourn to Peter's barn to accommodate the 
growing number of citizens. Still later, the tavern was pressed into 
service, and, after that, town business was transacted in the meeting- 

Lee Center was then a cluster of wooden houses around the little 
frame church. The town pound, thirty feet square, and the whipping 
post, six feet high, with a crosspiece the height of a man's arm, stood 
opposite. Not far off was the town well, with its wooden bucket on 
a heavy chain, a meeting-place for the community. 

During the Revolution, Lee lived up to the reputation of its soldier 
namesake. Not yet an incorporated township during the earliest days 
of the conflict, it sent men and supplies in excess of its quota to the 
service of the Colonies. Josiah Bradley of Lee was only fourteen 
years old when he went off with Colonel Brown and his "six-footers" 
to the Batde of Fort Stanwix. In the confusion of the defeat, Josiah 
was chased for several miles by an Indian. At length, unable to run 
further, the boy turned and fired his gun in the general direction of 
his pursuer. The Indian fell. Josh sped on, but he was confronted 
with a problem of ethics. The Ten Commandments charged "Thou 
shalt not kill," but a soldier was bound to kill as many of the enemy 
as he could. All his days Josiah was haunted by the Indian whose life 
he had taken. 

Hard on the heels of the Revolution came Shays' Rebellion. The 
Berkshire farmers, oppressed by heavy taxes, hard times, and the 
almost worthless post-Revolutionary currency, understood better than 
the "city folks" in Boston the real purpose of Daniel Shays' uprising. 
Lee was in particularly hard straits. In the winter of 1787, a battle 

138 The Berkshire Hills 

more comic than tragic. took place between the Shaysites and the 
government troops under General Patterson, drawn up on a hill in 
East Lee. Uniformed troops these, with polished rifles and menacing 
cannon. Opposite, across Greenwater Brook, were lined up the ragged 
and hungry rebels. They had only a few old-fashioned muskets, little 
ammunition, and no cannon. But someone had an inspiration. 
"Bring out Mother Perry's yarn-beam," he cried; "we'll make it look 
like a cannon to scare the sheep across the way." Quickly the pon- 
derous piece of weaving machinery, looking remarkably like a cannon, 
was mounted on a pair of ox-cart wheels. A ramrod and other military 
gadgets were flourished for the benefit of the enemy. Peter Wilcox 
roared the order, "Fire," and a blazing tarred rope was brandished 
like a fuse. Before the flames could damage Mother Perry's property, 
General Patterson's troops were in flight. In a twinkling, the hill they 
had occupied was bare. 

During the rebellion Peter Wilcox, Jr., and Nathaniel Austin were 
caught by the government troops and charged with treason. Con- 
demned to death, they were locked up in the county jail to await 
execution. Meantime their wives were permitted to bring them food 
and comforts. When the two ladies, seemingly bent with sorrow, had 
left the jail one day, the guard discovered that his prisoners were 
women in men's clothing. Wilcox and Austin in disguise had gotten 
safely out of the way. Wilcox hid in a cave in the side of FerncUff, 
overlooking the village square, until his subsequent pardon. To this 
day the place is known as PETER'S CAVE. 

"We have been very Shaysy here," said a member of the Congre- 
gational Church to the new pastor, Dr. Alvan Hyde, when he 
came in 1792, "and you'll have to be as wise as a serpent to keep peace 
among us." 

The despair and bitterness that incited Shays' Rebellion gradually 
faded, as an improved system of finance and government brought new 
hope. Lee was an agricultural town, dependent on its pastures and 
fields for a living. Though the soil seemed fertile to the Cape Codders, 
who had been transplanted from barren sand-dunes, the bottom lands 
were limited and the earth far from easy to till because of the huge 
stones lying around. 

Quarrying was already an established industry when, in 1852, 
Charles Heebner of Philadelphia bought a farm in Lee. The gentle- 

Bread Out of Stones and Paper 139 

man from afar was not troubled by the stone slabs in his field; in fact, 
he bought the farm because of them, knowing the "stones" were really 
marble of a high quality. In many places moss and forest growths 
had covered up the veins. Opening a thriving quarry in the town, 
Heebner sold marble for building material. A single contract for the 
enlargement of the Capitol in Washington ran to almost a million 
dollars. The Pittsfield and Stockbridge Railroad, put through Lee in 
1850, provided excellent transportation facilities. 

From this time on, Lee was busy with its marble quarries. Though 
Lee marble is gray-veined and without a fine grain, it is unusually 
hard and admirably suitable for building purposes. According to the 
United States Bureau of Standards, Lee marble is the hardest quarried 
in the country. It sustains a pressure of 30,000 pounds to the square 
inch, 8,000 pounds greater than most American marble and 7,000 
pounds more than Italian stone. In the first twelve years of operating 
his quarry, the wily Philadelphian took half a million cubic feet of 
marble from the place. By i860 several marble quarries in the town 
were booming. Great blocks of marble were shipped out daily to 
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and the West. For a quarter of a 
century, Lee held its place as the "Marble Town" of Massachusetts. 

Out of the deep, white-walled, white-floored pits descending into 
the earth of Lee's pasture lands came headstones for the graves of 
American soldiers in the Arlington National Cemetery. Over 9,000 
of these lustrous stones have been erected, all of uniform size. Hun- 
dreds more have been shipped by the United States Government 
throughout the world to mark the graves of American soldiers, sailors, 
and marines who have been buried on foreign soil. Parts of the Capitol 
in Washington, Grant's Tomb and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New 
York, the Los Angeles Armory, the Baltimore Court House, and the 
City Hall in Philadelphia were built from Lee's treasure. 

Lee paused to adorn itself with a few municipal buildings made 
of its own marble. Among them is HYDE SCHOOL, off the main 
road. President Franklin Roosevelt's father, by the way, attended a 
school conducted in the mid-nineteenth century by Alexander Hyde, 
son of the town's most famous minister. The PUBLIC LIBRARY, 
the Fire Station, both on US 20, and an occasional business block with 
marble ornamentation are other examples. But you will remember 

140 The Ber\shire Hills 

that the shoemaker's children went barefoot, and, similarly, Lee is a 
town of wooden houses. 

The mid-nineteenth century was the heyday of quarrying. Skilled 
workers were in demand in those days and could be found only in 
Italy. Italian marble cutters, imported from the old country, urged 
relatives and friends to come to Lee. Today, the ItaHan-Americans 
form one-fifth of Lee's population of 4,178. They live, for the most 
part, in three distinct Italian colonies, where they have preserved 
many of their native customs. "Little Italy" is in South Lee, just 
beyond the junction of US 20 and Mass 102. Canal Street, near the 
Lee Marble Company, is inhabited by Italian quarry workers, and 
even Dublin Street is now entirely Italian. 

The very name of Dublin Street recalls the days when the Housa- 
tonic Raihoad was pushed through by Irish labor. Irishmen, too, had 
been employed in the dangerous powder mills of South Lee, set up 
to supply the needs of the War of 1812. Although the enterprise 
added to the industrial development of the town, numerous explosions 
made the citizens decide that life was more important than wealth. 
Like the pottery and ironworks, the horse farms, and the carriage 
factory, the powder mills were abandoned. Lee settled down to its 
quarries and paper. 

In recent years the marble industry has declined until today the 
Lee Marble Company is the sole surviving plant. There is still hard 
gray-veined stone far down under the town, but it is too costly and 
difi&cult to get out. The LEE QUARRY is probably the only one in 
Massachusetts taking out marble at the present time. To reach the 
quarry, which lies across the Housatonic River from Lee Center, turn 
west from the Park on West Park Street, go over the river, then 
turn left on a dirt road paralleling the railroad tracks. Visitors are 
allowed to watch the various processes of mining, cutting, and pol- 

The old marble pits in Lee are deep and filled with water. From the 
Philadelphia Hole, closed after thirty years of operation, came almost 
two million cubic feet of marble for Girard College and the City Hall 
in Philadelphia. Today the pit is a swimming hole for town youngsters. 

Once all the work was done by hand. Now marble pits are opened 
by a channeling machine which does the work of twenty men. The 
floor is then cut into slabs of from six to thirty tons each. A derrick 

Bread Out of Stones and Paper 141 

lifts the monster blocks to the surface and loads them on a flat car 
drawn by a bellowing little steam locomotive, to be carted off to the 
sawmill. Giant saws — plain, toothless steel bands in frames, that work 
under a stream of water — cut the blocks into specified sizes. A huge 
two-piece steel disc, kept drenched in water, performs the first rough- 
polishing operation. In a second polishing, the marble is honed with 
six carborundum blocks set in a spinning steel disc. Discs of com- 
pressed felt, whirling upon the marble blocks, finish the job. 

Just beyond the quarry are the buildings of the LEE LIME COR- 
PORATION, established in 1885 by Martin and Michael Deeley. 
Using cast-off stone from the quarry, this company has furnished lime 
for building, agricultural, and chemical purposes throughout the east- 
ern part of the United States. Lime from Lee was used in the con- 
struction of Radio City and the Port Authority Building in New York 
and the Albany and Boston Post Offices. 

Along with marble and lime, Lee developed paper mills, fed on the 
great forests around the village. The Housatonic River has always 
offered good sites and abundant water power, and by 1806 factory 
wheels began to spin. Textiles, carriages, and machinery have been 
turned out, but paper surpassed them all. 

Local conditions were ideal for paper making. Besides ample water 
power, there was clean, pure air — of vital importance before air-condi- 
tioning — and men with capital were ready to put up money. In 1806 
Samuel Church built the first paper mill in South Lee. It was the 
second in the county, for Zenas Crane had erected one in Dalton 
five years before. Rag paper was the only sort then known, and aU 
manufacture was by hand. The rags were first washed, allowed to 
stand in tubs of water for a few days, then pounded into a pulp fine 
enough to spread evenly on a wire sieve. The sieve was used to dip 
up the pulp, sheet by sheet. It required twenty mortars to reduce 
one hundred pounds of rags to pulp in one day. Hand labor was about 
eight times slower than modern machinery. 

In 1819 Luman Church erected a second paper mill. Three years 
later, Samuel Church's pioneer concern in South Lee was sold to 
Owen and Hurlbut, and converted into a factory for the production 
of fine writing paper. Four men and six women with one engine 
and one vat turned out ten reams of letter paper and foolscap in a day. 
The hand-made sheets were left in a rough state, since no finishing 

142 The Berkshire Hills 

apparatus had been introduced; the edges of the reams were un- 
trimmed and the quires unstamped. MetaUic pens had not yet been 
invented, and the roughness of the paper did not interfere with the 
use of the quill. By 1850 Hurlbut's mill had thirteen engines, run- 
ning on a day and night schedule. One hundred and sixty hands 
were employed in producing four hundred reams of finished letter 
paper daily. 

In 1826, after the Laflin brothers had built the town's third paper 
mill, they gave the Neu/ Yor\ Daily Tribune its start by granting to 
Horace Greeley three months' credit on the paper stock he needed. 
Subsequent orders from the highly successful newspaper justified the 
Laflin venture, but sometimes the brothers were more adventurous 
than wise. Once they joined with some clever fellow who had de- 
veloped a material that looked like Leghorn straw, then much in 
vogue for the smart "Navarino bonnets." The imitations sold for J5 
apiece, much less than a genuine Leghorn. The business soared while 
such millinery was new, but with the first showers came sadness to 
the hat buyers and the end of the Navarino boom for the Laflins. 

Until well into the nineteenth century, the original hand-processes 
of paper-making had been only slightly improved. Inventions were 
made, of course, from time to time. Rags were reduced to pulp not 
by hand beating but by water-wheel machinery. The beating machine, 
or Hollander, named from the country of its origin, was invented in 
1690 but not used in the United States until the late eighteenth century. 
In 1799 Louis Robert patented a machine for making paper in a 
continuous sheet rather than in single small sheets as in the hand 
mold. His machine was improved by the Fourdrinier Brothers in 
1807 and is named for them. The first model was a crude affair. The 
beaten pulp was thrown in a continuous stream across an endless 
wire cloth stretched in a horizontal position, and carried toward rollers 
which squeezed out excess water. The wet paper was then wound 
on a wooden roller, and taken out as soon as sufficient paper had 
been made. 

The application of power in the second quarter of the nineteenth 
century and the gradual introduction of machines brought about revo- 
lutionary changes in the industry. The Hollander and the Fourdrinier 
processes were improved again and again. Berkshire manufacturers 
were soon able to produce a quality of machine-made paper far 

Bread Out of Stones and Paper 143 

superior to the best foreign hand-made goods. By the middle of the 
century all the mills in Lee, even the old single vat ones, had been 
equipped with Hollanders, Fourdriniers, and power engines. In 1857, 
the zenith of production, there were twenty-five mills in Lee, manu- 
facturing two milhon dollars' worth of paper yearly. The Civil War 
stimulated production and brought even greater prosperity to the 
town. Lee manufactured more paper than any other community in 
the United States. 

During the Civil War, Federal authorities discovered that one of 
the Lee mills was making paper watermarked "C.S.A." One Mr. Linn, 
who manufactured bank-note paper, was summoned before the Dis- 
trict Court in Boston to interpret the letters, which might mean 
Confederate States of America. Mr. Linn was either very ingenious 
or a great patriot. According to his story, he was carrying out orders 
given him by a group of Union sympathizers, who planned to flood 
the South with quantities of counterfeit Confederate bills. The value 
of Southern currency would thus be destroyed and the war would 
be over. The case was postponed to the next sitting of the court and 
apparently never was tried. Mr. Linn disappeared and the truth of his 
story remains a mystery. 

The most dramatic episode in the history of paper-making in the 
United States occurred at the Smith-Platner mills in Lee on March 8, 
1867 — the first practical demonstration in America of the process of 
manufacturing paper from wood pulp instead of rags. Carried out 
under the direction of Frederick Wurtzbach, machine- and cabinet- 
maker from the Hartz Mountains in Germany, the trial was an im- 
mediate success. 

By 1878 the Smith Mills were the undisputed leaders of the paper 
industry in Lee. At one time the New YorI{^ Herald used a thousand 
dollars' worth of Smith pulp paper a day. One week of January, 1885, 
the company received orders for seven hundred tons of paper. On 
another day, James Gordon Bennett sent a hurry call for a thousand 
tons, and got it. 

Fine writing stationery, coarse wrapping papers, paper-collar ma- 
terial, flat cap paper for bank and writing books, blotting and absorb- 
ent paper — out of Lee has come a varied contribution to paper-making 
in America. The Eaton-Dikeman Company, organized in 1891, was 
the first blotting-paper mill estabhshed in the State. As the manu- 

144 The Berkshire Hills 

facture of electrical equipment progressed, the demand for saturation 
papers for making Bakelite grew, and Eaton-Dikeman was one of 
the first to enter the new field. 

In 1892 the Smith Mills, ever on the alert, began manufacturing 
fine-grade tissue papers. In 1913 they added the production of India 
paper, commonly used in fine Bibles and until then made only in 
England. During the World War, the cigarette paper mills in France 
were faced with a shortage of labor. Taking over throughout the war 
period, the Smith Company produced one-half of all the cigarette 
paper in the United States. Business boomed, plants were remodeled, 
and new equipment was installed. 

Later years were not so good to Lee. The great Berkshire forests 
of spruce, poplar, and hemlock gradually gave out. UnHke Dalton, 
where rag pulp is still primarily used, Lee depended entirely on wood 
pulp. The extensive woodlands of Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, 
and the far West drew paper manufacturers away from the East. It 
was too cosdy to import wood from the West. One after another, 
the paper mills bordering the Housatonic and every stream and brook 
in Lee ceased operation. Many were absorbed by larger companies, 
others just abandoned. All but three paper mills departed or closed — 
the Smith Mills, since 1933 owned and operated by the British-Ameri- 
can Tobacco Company, the Hurlbut Paper Mills in South Lee, pur- 
chased in 1930 by the American Writing Paper Corporation, and the 
Mountain Mill in East Lee. 

During the prosperous years of the paper and marble industries, 
around the Civil War period, Lee enjoyed a building boom. New 
houses were constructed by the mill and quarry owners. The Park 
in the center of town was leveled off, planted with trees, and encir- 
cled by a stout wooden fence. One wintry night in 1857 the church, 
built in 1800, was destroyed by fire, and within a year a more elaborate 
structure took its place. The CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH 
(1858) still stands at the head of the Park, stately and dignified, with 
its slender steeple visible for miles around. The walls and ceilings 
are decorated with colorful fresco work of the baroque type, painted 
by an itinerant German whose name has long been lost. The German 
appeared in town shortly after the church was finished. He got a job 
decorating the walls of the old Masonic Lodge, and its members were 











o; .. ^■-- ■^■>- '. 


Bread Out of Stones and Paper 145 

so delighted with his painting that they suggested he be assigned to 
dress up the new church. 

The church is built of wood, instead of the Lee marble one might 
expect. But, strangely enough, native stone, beautiful in grain and 
color, was used in a monument on the HIGHFIELD FARM in South 
Lee. The memorial is not by way of tribute to an early settler, to the 
discoverer of the marble quarries, or to any citizen of note. The 
inscription reads: 

Here lies Highiield Colantha Mooie 




Who held the 

World Record 

For Lifetime 

Milk Production 

Born, Lived and Died 

On This Farm 


In her eighteen years at the Highfield Farm in South Lee, Colantha 
Mooie produced enough milk to flood the town. Her lifetime output 
totaled 205,928.5 pounds. 

Lee's industries are fewer but bigger now, and it is still a busy 
place. Here and there along its shaded streets rows of houses with 
steep roofs and wooden lace decoration retain something of the appear- 
ance of the Victorian era — of the days when Lee's "paper families" 
rode in phaetons and carryalls, drawn along the streets of the town 
by high-bred horses. The two- and three-story business blocks are a 
little dingy, but still in good condition. They line Main Street, where 
a double row of cars is parked at 45-degree angles against the high 
granite curbs. No need to worry about speeding down Main Street 
in Lee; there isn't room. 

For all the compact appearance of the Center, Lee is one of the 
most sprawhng towns in Berkshire. EAST LEE, two miles to the east 
on US 20, which runs over Jacob's Ladder and on to Springfield, 
is one of the oldest settled areas. In 1868 the thriving mill settlement 
here was almost completely demolished when the dam at Mud Pond 
Reservoir burst, sending tons of water hurtling down the narrow 

146 The Berkshire Hills 

ravine of the brook. Today East Lee is a somnolent village of old 
houses and an old-fashioned inn set on the sidehills. 

The hamlet is the locale of a sentimental ballad written by Kate 
Putnam Osgood, "Driving Home the Cows." In the true melodramatic, 
Victorian style, the poem tells the story of a farmer boy, actually 
Charles Gates of East Lee, who went to the Civil War without pre- 
vious notice or acclaim. One day he drove the cows to pasture, and 
did not come back. Many months later, the father set out to do his 
evening chores, as the poem relates: 

The summer days grew cold and late, 

He went for the cows, when the work was done; 

But down the lane, as he opened the gate. 
He saw them coming, one by one, — 

Brindle, Ebony, Speckle and Bess, 

Shaking their horns in the evening wind, 
Cropping the buttercups out of the grass. 

But who was it following close behind? 

Loosely swung in the idle air 

The empty sleeve of army blue; 
All worn and pale from the crisping hair 

Looked out a face that the father knew. 

The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes; 

For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb; 
And under the silent evening skies 

Together they followed the cattle home. 

From East Lee is said to have come the phrase "pot luck" as 
applied to a delectable New England boiled dinner. A town his- 
torian, the Reverend L. S. Rowland, speaks of it as 

. . . the most satisfying dish for the men who spent long hours in out- 
side labor. It is interesting to note that corned beef and cabbage is not 
as generally supposed, a dish brought from Ireland by early immigrants. 
They did not arrive here until about 1850 and "pot luck" was well-known 
in 1 79 1, in the town of Lee which was setded by Cape Cod people mostly. 

This homely dish is still a favorite in Lee. In 1938 the Corned Beef 
and Cabbage Club was organized in the town for the purpose of 
"sociability and the enjoyment of good food." The founder has moved 

Bread Out of Stones and Paper 147 

away, but if you should lift the lid of the iron pot bubbling on many 
a range in Lee, you'd snifl the appetizing smell of "pot luck." 

South Lee, the first area settled in the town, lies on Mass 102, 
which joins US 20 just east of the Housatonic. The DAVIS HOUSE, 
oldest in the township, is a frame dwelling built in 1760 by Isaac Davis, 
the pioneer. It stands across the old COVERED BRIDGE as you enter 
the village. The 120-foot bridge is more than a century old and one 
of the few antiques of the highway in Berkshire County. After 
weathering years of spring freshets, its beams are still stout enough 
to support any six-ton load. 

Halfway down the main street of South Lee, with the Housatonic 
at its back door, stands the POST ROAD HOUSE, an old tavern 
erected in the early nineteenth century. Open to visitors during the 
summer months, the old house contains the original decorations and 
furniture and an authentic antique bar. 

Rising against the sky to the southeast, behind the Post Road 
House, Bear Mountain shadows the village. Until his death in 1905 
it was the home of Levi Beebe, familiarly known as "Beartown Beebe" 
or "Weather Prophet Beebe of Beartown Mountain." Beebe could 
foretell the weather, bright or stormy, for weeks ahead, by a peculiar 
system of his own. He watched the antics of kittens, the gait of 
caterpillars across a leaf, and whether or not the cattle lay down in 
the pastures. He also observed the atmosphere, the strata of the clouds, 
and the diversity of air currents. 

Levi Beebe was not a "Berkshire Borner" but a dyspeptic book- 
binder from New York. When his ailment got the better of him, he 
left the city and his trade, brought his family to the backwoods o£ 
Berkshire, and settled down to the simple life. For many years he 
communed with Nature and practised his mysterious arts in peace. 
Lee people liked him, for despite his queer knowledge he was a man 
of "horse sense." Adopting the vernacular of the hills, he once said 
to the "Berkshire Tramp," an itinerant news reporter of the day: 

I just love this air life I'm livin, for here we are untrammeled as to 
the conventionalities of fashion or the pride of dress, and we are all away 
from the temptations of the village — besides we know where the boys 
and gals are every night. We don't have so much style as some, but we 
have a comfortable hum . . . 

148 The Berkshire Hills 

The modern successor to Beebe is Peter Tyer, who hves on the 
Lee-Lenox town line in Lenoxdale. Tyer has received considerable 
publicity because of his decoration of a huge stone near the Housa- 
tonic. The stone has the sprawling, squat shape of a great frog. Tyer 
painted it green and added a white mouth and black eyes. For his 
artistry he has won the title of "The Sage of Frog's Landing." Tyer 
boasts he was born "the minute General Lee capitulated to General 
Grant at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865." One of the tales 
he loves to tell concerns the "growing stone" of Darius See, who, while 
walking along Washington Mountain Road, threw a pebble at a bird. 
Missing its mark, the pebble lodged in the crotch of a tree. As the 
tree grew, so grew the stone. In fact, it became an enormous boulder. 
Peter Tyer will show you the tree to prove his story. 

There's another man whom everybody in Lee knows, a kindly 
lawyer who is said to have more friends to the square mile than any 
other man in southern Berkshire. "Jim" O'Brien is tall and lanky, 
with a powerful frame. Lee folks say he reminds them of Abraham 
Lincoln, and he's as honest as "Old Abe." Mr. O'Brien is always 
dressed in a low-brimmed black felt hat, long-tailed black coat, black 
and gray pin-striped trousers, "boiled" shirt, and collar with a shoe- 
string tie. They say "Jim" knows every posy and blade of grass, let 
alone every man, woman, and child, for miles around, and when 
you talk about Lee, you don't want to forget Jim O'Brien. 

The changes that time brings have not been unkind to Lee. First, 
farming, then the production of marble and paper supplied the towns- 
people with a livelihood. Lately a new and fourth industry, the tourist 
trade, puts butter on the bread. People come both winter and summer 
for the beauty of the scenery around Lee and the ample recreational 
facilities. The town has one of the best nine-hole golf courses in 
Berkshire County, and in Beartown Forest there are ski and snow- 
shoe trails. Lenox and Lee share the great OCTOBER MOUNTAIN 
STATE FOREST, the largest public recreation territory in Massa- 
chusetts. GOOSE POND, reached from East Lee by Goose Pond 
Road southeast of town, is a favorite spot for fishermen and campers. 
LAUREL LAKE, shimmering spot of water in the opposite end of 
town, is famous for rainbow trout. The story of Lee as a recreation 
center is only in its first chapter. Peter Tyer's frog may become once 
again merely an old gray stone before the tale of Lee is completely told. 

Chapter VIII 

GREAT BARRINGTON—VS 7, Mass 23, 41, sett. 1726, alt. 710, pop. 

SHEFFIELD— US 7, sett. 1726, alt. 697, pop. 1810. 

Roads — South from Lee on US 20 to East Lee, then west on Mass 102 
past Stoc^bridge to join US 7 going south to Great Barrington and Shef- 

An almost complete barrier of hills surrounds GREAT BARRING- 
TON. Monument Mountain on the north; the pine-covered Berkshire 
Heights on the west; Warner and East Mountains along the eastern 
sky; and to the south, their heads in the clouds, Race Mountain and 
Mt. Everett of the Taconic Range. Mountains and hills, brooks and 
ponds, secluded glens, and the placid Housatonic River make a ro- 
mantic setting for the valley town. For over half a century rich folk 
have estabhshed their summer homes here. More recently, Great Bar- 
rington has become a center for skiing and winter sports. The town 
has so many modern highways leading into it that the title "Southern 
Gateway to the Berkshires" seems quite apt. US 7 and Mass 41 bring 
people from Connecticut and New York; Mass 23 crosses the state 
from eastern Massachusetts to connect with NY 23. 

Great Barrington gives every one a feeling of spaciousness. Wide, 
shaded streets radiate toward the mountains all around. On Berkshire 
Heights, in the western part of town, and along Mass 23 toward Egre- 
mont, visitors may see mansions built in the architecture of the 
'90's, alongside of occasional smaller houses whose outward simplicity 
conceals luxurious interiors — reproductions of eighteenth century farm- 
houses and Cape Cod cottages many times enlarged and embellished. 
Hedges are rare and there is little deliberate isolation. Elms arch 
over streets where tall, cone-shaped Norway spruce, stately white pine, 
and spreading maple decorate immaculate lawns. 

The largest town in southern Berkshire, Great Barrington is the 
natural trading and business center for a surrounding rural population. 



The Berkshire Hills 

Loc\ed Among the Hills 151 

Alford, Egremont, Monterey, and neighboring towns all come here 
for their shopping, for visits to the dentist, the lawyer, and the bank, 
to see a movie, and to sell farm produce. In summer the design for 
life in the town is marked by such little things as news stands piled 
high with New York, Philadelphia, and other metropolitan papers; 
instead of the usual movie and murder "thrillers," Harper's Bazaar, 
Vogue, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Nation occupy places 
of prominence on the racks. Tradesmen are alert and eager to tell 
you about their town and its resources, their tongues loosened by 
frequent conversation with a type of customer not found in the aver- 
age small town. The wide "Saratoga porch" of the rambling Berkshire 
Inn is gay with the bright colors of sports clothes; fine homes hang 
out signs reading "Over Night Guests" or "Luncheon, Tea and Din- 
ner"; sleek motor cars dash about the countryside, and smartly dressed 
men and women stroll the streets. In season, the Yankee town goes 

The fastidious character of the summer trade has led to the 
passage of careful zoning regulations against garish "improvements." 
Townspeople have tried to keep gasoline stations and unsightly corners 
from destroying the charm of the community. Great Barrington has 
something of the dignity of Stockbridge, but there is a subdued bustle 
and an unconscious air of sophistication which Stockbridge does not 
possess. The isolation of the town's factories in outlying Housatonic 
helps to preserve an appearance of planned beauty. 

Almost the whole of the permanent population, except the mill 
workers of Housatonic, has some contact with the recreation business. 
The sale, development, and improvement of property employ real 
estate agents, contractors, carpenters, masons, and plumbers. A retinue 
of cooks, gardeners, waiters, waitresses, maids, handy-men, caddies, 
hostelers, and even dog trainers serve the wealthy in simimer. 

The names of the region seem to have had their origin in a con- 
viction of grandeur. Near the old fordway of the Housatonic River 
was the Great Wigwam, and the main council fire of the Mahicans. 
The ford itself was called the Great Fordway, and when the first 
bridge was thrown across the river it became, of course, the Great 
Bridge. Then there was the Great Road from Boston to Albany, which 
in the beginning was only an Indian trail through the forest to West- 
field in the Connecticut Valley. Eventually, Great Barrington. 

152 The Berkshire Hills 

The prosaic probability is, however, that when a name was chosen 
at the incorporation of the town in 1761, the Berkshire settlement was 
afraid lest it be confused with the Rhode Island village of Harrington, 
until 1770 incorporated in Massachusetts. Both towns had been named 
for a famous apostle of reUgious tolerance, Viscount Barrington, of a 
family intimately connected with that of Cromwell, the Puritan lib- 
erator. The implications of the epithet are accidental, for, as someone 
has remarked, "Great Barrington is a name from which the modesty, 
perhaps, of its people is gradually eliminating the adjective." 

White men invaded this valley as early as 1676, when Major John 
Talcott and his troops came up from Westfield in hot pursuit of a 
band of Narragansett Indians along the Great Road, then just an 
Indian trail. Near the Great Fordway the Indians escaped, but not 
before twenty-five braves had fallen and twenty others had been taken 

Almost before Great Barrington had time to get its bearings after 
separation from Sheffield in 1761, there came the rumblings of revolt 
against the English crown. General Thomas Gage, commander-in- 
chief of the royal forces in America, wrote in alarm to his king across 
the sea, "A flame has sprung up at the extremity of the province . . , 
the popular rage is very high in Berkshire and makes its way rapidly 
to the rest." The brand kindled in Great Barrington was passed along 
throughout the country. In August, 1774, a group of Berkshire men 
assembled on the village green near the present Town Hall in Great 
Barrington Center. As a protest against Great Britain's oppressive 
taxation, they seized the Court House, and even dared to prevent 
the King's Court from holding sessions. A rough stone marker on the 
spot relates that: 

Near this spot stood the first Court 
House of Berkshire County, erected 1764. 
Here August 16, 1774 occurred the first 
open resistance to British rule in America. 

Like many historic "firsts," this claim has been open to question — 
though not in Berkshire. 

When the Revolution actually broke out in 1775, the town was 
ready for a leading role. The news from Lexington did not arrive until 

Locked Among the Hills 153 

noon on April 20, but by next morning a company of men started 
off to join the Colonial forces in the east. Despite this outburst of 
spontaneous patriotism, a number of well-to-do Tories lived in Great 
Barrington, the best known among them David Ingersoll, a magis- 
trate and one of the leading citizens. He had represented Great Bar- 
rington, Sheffield, and Egremont in the General Court in 1770; four 
years later he was one of the "Addressors" who presented a laudatory 
tribute to Governor Hutchinson on the eve of His Excellency's depar- 
ture for England. This courtesy to a royal governor angered Ingersoll's 
former friends. On more than one occasion he was roughly treated, 
and ultimately he was seized by a mob of Connecticut men to be 
imprisoned at Litchfield. By the Massachusetts Banishment Act of 1778 
he was exiled, his house and lands were taken over by the Committee 
of Safety, and he had to borrow money to pay his passage to England. 

During the early days of the war, a barbecue and feast were held 
on a nearby mountain summit, and after the sports of the day were 
over, the patriots erected a liberty pole. In the dark of the night, some 
Tories pulled it down. The patriots, infuriated by such audacity, ele- 
vated the pole on a treetop, filled the trunk of the tree with spikes, 
and posted a guard to see that no Tory again disturbed their sacred 
symbol of liberty. 

Tradition has it that General Burgoyne with his Hessians received 
a welcome in Great Barrington rather unusual for a defeated army 
in ignominious retreat. The fanciful legend persists that the General 
and his officers were invited to a ball at the home of Elijah Dwight, 
and that Burgoyne "fell madly in love" with Peggy Brownlee, a local 
belle. For what confirmation it may be, a drawing in the town Library 
depicts Colonel Elijah Dwight in the act of offering the hospitality 
of his home to the defeated Englishman. Attired in the knee pants of 
aristocracy and wearing a three-cornered Continental hat, the Colonel 
is portrayed as a figure in full dignity. Burgoyne looks rather flabber- 
gasted at an invitation to dance upon a polished floor, when he might 
well have expected to dangle at a rope's end. 

Great Barrington's common folk joined Shays' Rebellion against 
the ruinous tax rate of post-Revolutionary Massachusetts. On one 
occasion a mob of Shaysites surrounded the court house, captured 
the judges, and warned them to hold no court until the grievances 
of the farmers were righted. Insurrectionaries marched on the jail to 

154 ^'^'^ Berkshire Hills 

release the debtors. Bement, the keeper, fled his post to warn the people 
of Sheffield of the coming attack, while his wife, a bright, black-eyed 
little woman, attempted to hold the jail single-handed. 

"Hand over the keys!" brusquely demanded a farmer of the Shays 
force. Mrs. Bement produced the keys, motioned the glowering men 
aside, and as she grimly unlocked the heavy door, sang out: 

Hark from the tombs a doleful sound. 

My ears attend the cry. 
Ye living men, come view the ground 

Where you must shordy lie. 

Not content with the ominous prediction in poetry, she curtly eluci- 
dated in prose, "We will have you all in here before tomorrow!" 

Among celebrities associated with Great Barrington was William 
CuUen Bryant. In 1816, as a young man, he trudged into town afoot, 
carrying his few possessions in a pack on his back. After seven months 
in law partnership with George H. Ives, Bryant bought the practice 
for a trifling sum; his immediate returns, according to old letters and 
ledgers, were likewise trifling. Four years later he became town clerk. 
When he decided to marry, his official position required him to post 
his own banns on the church door. So great was his diffidence in this 
embarrassing situation that he ran away; but he returned, perhaps a 
bit shamefaced, in time to stand up with Miss Frances Fairchild in 
the paneled southeast room of the HENDERSON HOUSE (now 
an annex of the Berkshire Inn on Main Street) and take his marriage 

During their stay in the town, the Bryants occupied various dwell- 
ings at one time and another. They first set up housekeeping in rooms 
in the RALPH TAYLOR HOUSE on South Main Street, and here 
their daughter Frances was born. Bryant's ledger reveals that items 
of family expense — "Rent, $30 for a year," and a bill sent by a zealous 
landlady "for pasturing the cow 28 V2 weeks at seventeen cents per 
week" — kept him in -a constant state of apprehension. He is said to 
have been a "fiery young lawyer" with a large practice, but he never 
liked his profession. "I am plagued," he wrote, "with the disagreeable, 
disgusting drudgery of the law." His unhappiness in this work is 
reflected in one of his few poems written in Great Barrington. One 
summer day he stole away to the banks of the Green River and wrote : 

Locked Among the Hills 155 

Though forced to drudge for the dregs of men, 

And scrawl strange words with the barbarous pen, 

And mingle among the Jostling crowd, 

Where the sons of strife are subtle and loud — 

I often come to this quiet place. 

To breathe the airs that ruffle thy face. 

And gaze upon thee in silent dream, 

For in thy lonely and lovely stream. 

An image of that calm life appears 

That won my heart in my greener years. 

During his stay Bryant wrote another poem, "The Death of the 
Flowers," a somewhat somber but lyrical work once highly esteemed. 

The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, 
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sear. 
Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the withered leaves lie dead; 
They rusde to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread. 

In 1825 the poet forsook the shadow of the elms and the banks 
of the Green and Housatonic rivers, and closed his law office forever 
to enter the publishing world. He founded the New YorI{^ Review, 
and in 1826 became editor of The New Yor}{^ Evening Post, a position 
he held until his death. 

Bryant, whom Walter Prichard Eaton considers "as much a poet 
of the Berkshires as Wordsworth of the Lake Country," wrote his 
version of the tragedy on MONUMENT MOUNTAIN, the height 
north of town. The mountain had been named from a rock cairn 
which stood beside an Indian trail. According to the poet, the cairn 
commemorates the fearful punishment of an Indian girl who had 
fallen in love with her cousin. For such transgression of tribal laws, 
the penalty was death, death at the foot of the towering cliffs. 

. . . But when the sun grew low 

And the hUl shadows long, she threw herself 

From the steep rock and perished. There was scooped. 

Upon the mountain's southern slope, a grave; 

And there they laid her, in the very garb 

With which the maiden decked herself for death. 

With the same withering wild flowers in her hair 

And o'er the mound that covered her, the tribe 

156 The Ber\shire Hills 

Built up a simple monument, a cone 

Of small loose stones. Thenceforward, all who passed, 

Hunter, and dame, and virgin, laid a stone 

In silence on the pile. It stands there yet. 

And Indians from the distant West, that come 

To visit vi^here their fathers' bones are laid. 

Yet tell the sorrowful tale, and to this day 

The mountain where the hapless maiden died 

Is called the Mountain of the Monument. 

Another Berkshire celebrity was Franklin Leonard Pope, the 
electrical genius, born in Great Barrington in 1840. His eventful career 
included the invention of the first system for the distribution of Wall 
Street quotations over the Gold and Stock Reporting Telegraph. Later, 
as a partner of Thomas Edison, he devised the rail circuit for the 
electric signal system on the railroads, and the Pope and Edison 
printer, an improvement in telegraph printing instruments. An in- 
ventor to the last, he died in the cellar of his Great Barrington home 
while tinkering with a transformer. 

This electrical device had been invented in 1880 by William 
Stanley, Great Barrington resident who was later to found an industry 
still thriving in Pittsfield. In 1886 he decided to make a practical test 
of alternating current by obtaining enough subscribers to install his 
transformer and provide a lighting system for his home town. Great 
Barrington was the first town in the world to have an alternating 
current system in commercial use. 

During the "gay nineties" in Berkshire, the town was a lively 
place. Summer people lavished fortunes on entertainments attended 
with all the extravagance of theatrical displays. "Fashion has decreed 
that the seaside sojourn at Newport should be followed ere returning 
to town by a fall visit to the Berkshire Hills." Ward McAllister, 
known as "Beau Brummel," joint-creator with Mrs. William Astor of 
New York's famous list of "Four Hundred," frequently visited the 
town. McAllister and other sportsmen organized week-long hunts for 
ruflfed grouse and woodcock, plentiful in the neighboring woods. In 
a single week strings of seven hundred grouse and twelve hundred 
woodcock were shipped ofl to friends of the huntsmen — a practice 
quite within the law of the time. 

President Dwight of Yale College, visiting Great Barrington in 

Locked Among the Hills 157 

1798, had found the village untidy and neglected in appearance: 
"The houses are, in many instances, decayed; the Episcopal Church 
is barely decent; the Congregational, ruinous. Few places can boast 
of a better soil or more deHghtful situation, yet I suspect few have 
been less prosperous or less happy. Religion has had here, generally, 
a doubtful existence." The people, he said, were "very wicked" and 
without a minister, and devout observers of the Sabbath had to go 
to other towns for worship while the unregenerate devoted the day 
to visiting, sitting in taverns, horse racing, and other frivolities. 

Today, some 140 years later, churches are among the most striking 
features of the town. The CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH on 
Main Street, a beautiful building of blue dolomite erected in 1883, 
is the successor to many structures since the original parish was 
organized in 1743. Adjoining the church is the lavish HOPKINS 
MEMORIAL MANSE built to honor the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, 
pastor in Great Barrington, 1744-69. Of blue dolomite, it has cloisters 
to connect it with the church. Baedeker's Guide to the United States 
stars both buildings. The site of the church is approximately that o£ 
the Great Council Fire of the Mahican Indians. Beyond the Library 
marble. Adjacent to the Town Hall is ST. JAMES' EPISCOPAL 
CHURCH, the oldest parish of this denomination in the county. 
The Episcopal society was established in 1762 to satisfy the Dutch, 
whose children the local Congregational minister refused to baptize 
because their parents were "unconverted." Nothing daunted, the 
Dutch setders sent to Connecticut for an Episcopalian minister, who 
established St. James' Church. The first building, facetiously called 
the "glass house" because of its large windows, was opened in 1764. 

In the center of the town is the showplace of the community, 
BARRINGTON HOUSE, a residence built by Mrs. Edward F. 
Searles over fifty years ago. A high stone wall and a thick stand of 
trees conceal it from the passerby. Planned gardens and a small lagoon 
with a broad stretch of greensward set off the house, in the midst of 
nearly a hundred acres of meadow and woodland. A chateau of the 
Renaissance period, it is constructed of blue dolomite, a native stone 
reputedly quarried right on East Mountain. 

Barrington House, now a girls' school, is as interesting inside as 
out. The Great Hall and the dining room are in the English manor- 

158 The Berkshire Hills 

house style, hand-carved native oak with enormous fireplaces. The 
atrium of? the Great Hall is an adapted copy of the Erectheum, an 
almost pure example of Greek Ionic architecture. The French recep- 
tion room, Louis XIV period, was shipped to Great Harrington in 
sections. No other building in the county, save possibly the Tytus 
Palace in Tyringham, can compare in pomp and circumstance. 

The house, lagoon, and extensive property, though it has now 
passed to other hands, is a constant reminder of past connections 
with the Hopkins family. The story goes back to the earliest Hopkins 
of any fame in the Berkshires, the Reverend Samuel, about whom 
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a novel. The Minister's Wooing. Hop- 
kins married a Great Barrington girl and was for twenty-five years 
the town minister. Always ardent in defense of his beliefs, he is best 
remembered for his defiance of slave-holding parishioners in Newport, 
where he went to preach against slavery after his Great Barrington 
charge. His doctrines, still surviving when Unitarianism made its 
appearance in New England, were ridiculed by supporters of the new 
theology as "Hopkinsianism" and as the gospel of the "willing-to-be- 
damned." In reaUty, Hopkins' books added little to the harsh severity 
of Jonathan Edwards. The family lingered on in Great Barrington, 
and Moses Hopkins, son of Samuel, was long one of its chief citizens. 
Mark Hopkins, Moses' son, was among those who left the Berkshires; 
in 1806 he migrated, going first to New York and later to Michigan. 
It was in Henderson, New York, that his son, Mark Hopkins, junior, 
the object of this genealogy, was born in 1813. 

This oflshoot of the Berkshires was destined to play an important 
role in American history. He was only a small merchant up to the age 
of forty-one. Six years after the first gold rush, he came across Collis 
P. Huntington in California, and the two went into business selling 
miners' supplies in Sacramento. Later the partners took in Leland 
Stanford and Daniel Crocker to form what came to be called "the 
Big Four." On a mere shoestring of capital and amid cries of "fraud" 
and "swindle," they built up the railroad system of the West. When 
Hopkins died in 1878 he left a fortune of twenty million dollars. A 
few years later his widow, a member of the Sherwood family of 
Great Barrington, took a second husband, Edward F. Searles. In 
1885 Searles, an interior decorator and amateur architect, conceived 
the idea of the dominating palace-like structure of Barrington House. 

Locked Among the Hills 159 

After his wife's death in 1891, he Uved on in the house, extending his 
land purchases from time to time until he became almost the feudal 
baron of the area. But Great Barrington, though priding itself as a 
"refuge from tax robbers" because its rate of $8.70 compared favor- 
ably with Boston's $17.00, tried to assess the Searles mansion at a 
valuation of six hundred thousand dollars. Despite the cost of Bar- 
rington House, estimated at amounts varying from five hundred 
thousand dollars to two million dollars, the owner was in no mood 
to contribute taxes for a trolley line (like all others in Berkshire now 
unused) which passed in front of his property. He built a great stone 
wall, adorned by turrets, to assure himself of privacy and quiet while 
he railed at the assessors' affront. He denied that his house was worth 
the assessed value; in fact he would sell it, he said, for only slightly 
more than a tenth of that sum. A group of Great Barrington residents, 
anxious to possess the place for a school, took him at his word and 
eagerly collected the necessary sixty-five thousand dollars. Huffy over 
the calhng of his hand, Searles sold the property at the price agreed 
on and withdrew to another castle in Methuen, Massachtisetts. After 
his death, litigation as to who would inherit the railroad millions 
dragged on for many years until the "Searles Will Case" became a 
legal classic. Today Barrington House is all that remains in Great 
Barrington of this strange family saga. 

Great Barrington is said to have been built on or near the site 
of the Indian village, Mahaiwe, a name preserved by the leading bank 
and a principal street in the town. The Indian word is a corruption 
of the original "Neh-hai-we," meaning "place down stream." This is 
the interpretation given by an early minister, the Reverend Jeremiah 
Slingerland, who based his opinion on a letter written from Indian 
Town (later Stockbridge) , November 8, 1735, in which mention is 
made of going to Mahaiwe down the river. 

Great Barrington's attraction comes in great part from its natural 
setting on the river whose musical name, Housatonic — "the river 
beyond the mountains" — was given by the Indians. "Aussatonag," 
"Ousetonuck," and "Housatunnak," sometimes appear, but students 
of the Stockbridge Indian tongue maintain that "Hoo-es-ten-nuc" is 
the spelling which best represents the pronunciation. 

A number of tablets mark spots of historic interest. One in the 
park in front of the Town Hall indicates the SITE OF THE FIRST 

i6o The Berkjhire Hills 

ARMED RESISTANCE to the British rule in America, July i6, 
1774. On the grounds of the High School on Bridge Street another 
tablet shows where the Indians battled at the GREAT FORDWAY 
with Major Talcott and his soldiers in 1676. East of Green River 
Bridge on Mass 23 toward South Egremont a marker records the 
army in 1758 during the march on Ticonderoga. 

The DR. WHITING HOUSE, built over two hundred years ago, 
was the scene of the surrender of the judges, Whiting among them, 
to the demand of the Shaysites for a written agreement guaranteeing 
that court would not sit. 

The second oldest house in Great Barrington is the HENDER- 
SON HOUSE (1759), which once occupied the site of the Berkshire 
Inn and has been removed to the rear of the hotel. The two-story 
frame structure with lean-to roof and clapboarded walls, though re- 
modeled in the roof and its "Connecticut entrance" a thing of the 
past, has some noteworthy interior details, particularly in the south- 
east corner rooms of the first and second stories. Supplies for the 
soldiers of the Revolution were stored in the house, which in 1777 
served to confine General Burgoyne, then on his way to Boston as 
a prisoner of war. 

Clustered together on the banks of the river a couple of miles 
north of the village proper are the few farmhouses that make up 
the hamlet of VAN DEUSENVILLE, one of the two smaller setde- 
ments of the town. This was a part of the region deeded by terms 
of the "sider and rum treaty" signed by Chief Konkapot and twenty 
other Indians in 1724. The tavern at Van Deusenville was once a stage- 
coach stop. In the early '40's June and Company used to put on their 
small circus and menagerie in the rear of the tavern. Among the 
animals that astounded the natives was a giraffe, advertised as the 
camel-leopard and the first ever seen in the county. A minstrel show, 
like the accompanying circus the first of its kind to visit in Berkshire, 
was presented from an ordinary baggage wagon fitted up as a stage. 
The star of the evening was a husky Negro who came out in a fan- 
tastic costume to sing "Jump, Jim Crow," before a wide-eyed audience. 

A few miles north of Van Deusenville is HOUSATONIC, the 
industrial section of Great Barrington, Precinct B of the town. 
Its hydro-electric plant of some three thousand horsepower derives 


Locked Among the Hills i6i 

power from the Housatonic River. The Monument Mills, incorporated 
in 1856, manufacture cotton warps in one of the largest cotton textile 
factories in New England. In 1870 the mills were combined with 
the Waubeek Mills, first manufacturers of Marseilles counterpanes. 
The B. D. Rising Paper Company is successor to a small paper mill 
erected by the Hurlbuts in 1856 and operated by them until 1862. At 
various times paper for the United States Government has been made 

Some five miles north of Great Barrington gleams the white- 
clifled wall of Monument Mountain. Its chief prominence, locally 
known as SQUAW PEAK, Hes wholly within the limits of the 
township. Fragments of the peak have split away on either side, leav- 
ing a long, knife-like ridge of pinkish quartzite scarcely fifteen feet 
wide in some places. From this summit there is a view of the Housa- 
tonic, WilHams River, Konkapot Brook, and the Green River, wind- 
ing through the meadows and groves — an outlook as fine as anything 
in the county. Lake Agawam shimmers in the northwest and Bear- 
town Mountain's long ridge stretches to the north and east. The notch 
in Warner Mountain, to the southeast, marks the spot where an earth- 
quake long ago opened a wide gulf known as ICE GULCH or 
"PURGATORY," freezing cold the year round. A few miles south 
rise the slopes of old East Mountain, and still farther in the southwest 
is the great rounded dome of Everett, its fire tower outlined against 
the sky. On Monument Mountain, wrote Bryant, "the lovely and the 
wild mingled in harmony on Nature's face." 

There is another version than his of the 

Tale about these reverend rocks, 
A sad tradition of unhappy love. 
And sorrows borne and ended, long ago. 

According to a wilder account than Bryant's plaintive verse, a con- 
demned Indian maiden was hurled from the lofty peak by her tribes- 
men. She saved herself by catching desperate hold on a long branch 
of an old pine tree, whose roots had found lodgment in a cleft in the 
rocks. The branch lowered with her weight but held firm, and as 
she clung to it, her screams echoed through the mountain stillness. 
For two days and nights she clung to the old pine until, just before 

i62 The Ber\shire Hills 

the dawn of the second day, a fierce storm burst forth. Neither driving 
rain nor howHng wind could drown out the girl's renewed shrieks. 
As the storm lulled a moment, her last plea for mercy rose to her 
tribesmen gathered on the mountain summit. While they gazed in 
horror, a bolt of lightning struck the tree and tore it from its anchor- 
age in the clifl. The tree and the maiden spiraled downward in 
horrifying plunge, disappearing in the darkness. Long the Mahicans 
searched, but found no trace of tree or maiden. In memory of her 
whom the Great Father had taken in this weird manner the awe- 
stricken Indians fashioned a rude cairn. Strangers visiting the spot 
added their tribute of more stones, gradually forming the crude monu- 
ment that now gives the mountain its name. 

Some people think the cairn is one of many altars in New England 
erected to an unknown god to whom the Indians brought symbolic 
offerings. A plausible story is that Konkapot, chief of the Mahicans, 
declared that a monument should mark the boundary of land agreed 
upon in a treaty between his tribe and the Mohawks, by which the 
Mahicans were to have as their hunting grounds all the area within 
a day's journey of the pile. 

Whatever the truth may be, THE CAIRN, a pyramid six or eight 
feet in diameter at the base, was fashioned before white settlers looked 
upon the Housatonic Valley. The curious may find it on the trail 
opposite the Squaw Peak Cabins on US 7. 

On the western slope of Monument Mountain once stood the 
Pelton Farm, whose stone gatepost led to a tragi-comic episode. The 
wife and mother of the family occupying the house had died; as the 
funeral cortege was leaving the yard, the conveyance carrying the 
body hit the post. The force of the collision was so great that the 
corpse was thrown to the ground and the shock revived the woman, 
who not only showed signs of life but lived five years before she again 
passed away. Once more the funeral party started on its way, but this 
time when the hearse approached the post, the husband suddenly 
stopped the procession and solemnly warned the driver, "Be careful 
now, don't hit that post again!" 

On South Main Street, away from the center, are the grounds 
where each fall the HOUSATONIC FAIR is held. On September 
28 and 29, 1842, the Housatonic Agricultural Society, representing 
eleven towns in South Berkshire, opened the fair for the first time. 

hocked Among the Hills 163 

in a field south of the Congregational Church. Until 1864, when the 
present property was acquired for fair purposes, the entire event went 
on in the town center — cattle on exhibit near the church, horses on 
Main Street, household manufactures in Academy Hall, and horse-, 
racing in the street. Visitors came by buggy, in democrat wagons, 
carryalls, coaches, and even hayracks; those from a distance used the 
newly opened Housatonic Railroad. 

At first the only exhibits were oxen, but gradually horses, sheep, 
swine, and poultry were added. Plowing contests were included at 
an early date; witness the proud tone of an 1854 report. 

The boys of Southern Berkshire are not to be beaten. They cannot well 
beat each other. Direct them to cut a furrow slice of precise width and 
depth, to lay it flat or oblique, and the direction will be obeyed to a 
hair. . . . How can a committee discriminate? When all stand upon equal 
footing, instead of making solemn award in discrimination of merit, the 
attempt to do which must necessarily be gready perplexing, the more 
readier way would be to permit the competitors to "draw cuts!" 

Prizes for female horsemanship were introduced about 1856, and an 
effort was made to foster competition in spading and in wood chop- 
ping, but no one seemed interested. Once three competitors appeared 
for the foot races, two of them Negro boys. The committee "experi- 
enced some embarrassment in regard to the first two prizes in view 
of the Dred Scott decision, the prizes having been taken by a couple 
of gentlemen who are not legally recognized as citizens, but another 
consideration overcame this scruple, that it was our duty to encourage 
the habit of running among a class who earn their freedom only by 
the best exercise of this power." 

To the cattle show were added carnival events — ^bicycle teams, 
balloon ascensions, trapeze acts, and baseball games. By 1890 jugglers, 
contortionists, and strong men were part of the program and soon 
the Fair had a real midway with barkers, snake charmers, and auto- 
mobile racers. When pari-mutuel betting was legalized in Massa- 
chusetts, gate receipts rose. These "extra added attractions" are some- 
times strongly condemned by lovers of the good old-fashioned cattle 
shows, but the younger men who instituted them feel they have saved 
the Fair from extinction. The Fair still has its exhibits of field corn, 
cheese, butter, and home cooking. 

164 The Berkshire Hills 

Southeastward from Great Barrington, above the broad green 
valley of the Housatonic, spreads the wooded flank of EAST MOUN- 
TAIN. In the 1890's, Searles, builder of Barrington House, presented 
the town with a park here. The mountain is within a State Forest 
reservation on whose northern edge lies the GREAT BARRINGTON 
SPORTS CENTER. In the summer of 1938 a Dude Ranch com- 
plete with cowboys and rodeo occupied the Sports Center, but it is 
in winter that real activity appears — nine or ten ski trails and slopes 
on the side of Warner Mountain. Facilities include a skating rink, 
a log cabin canteen, and Pixley Tavern, a one-hundred-year-old inn 
on Mass 23, accommodating forty-five guests. The Center proudly 
proclaims that it "has everything from food to first-aid, toast to 

After weaving its way through miles of farming land to the west, 
the Green River joins the Housatonic a few miles due south of the 
village. Near the present bridge over the river on Mass 23 is a spot 
which inspired young Bryant to write his "Green River," beginning — 

When breezes are soft and skies are fair, 
I steal an hour from study and care, 
And hie me away to the woodland scene. 
Where wanders the stream with waters of green, 
As if the bright fringe of herbs on its brink 
Had given their stain to the waves they drink; 
And they, whose meadows it murmurs through, 
Have named the stream from its own fair hue. 

There is an old tale associated with an earlier bridge over the 
Housatonic. A Mr. Van Rensselaer of Albany, New York, came one 
evening to the tavern that once stood near here. The night was not 
merely dark, but profoundly black. The host, previously acquainted 
with his guest, spoke of the remarkable pall that seemed to have 
settled over the river and its environs. 

"By the way. Van Rensselaer," he said suddenly, "how'd you get 
over the river.? Where'd you come across?" 

"Oh, the usual place," answered Van Rensselaer, indifferently; "I 
came over the bridge, of course." 

"But good heavens, man!" Root, the inn-keeper, exclaimed, "there's 

Locked Among the Hills 165 

no bridge to come over! Why, they tore off the flooring today and 
there's not a plank been laid on it yet to my knowledge!" 

"Nonsense! The bridge is there the same as ever. My horse came 
over it without any hesitation or difficulty. In fact, I gave him the rein, 
knowing he knew the road as well as I." 

Root looked suspiciously at Van Rensselaer, thinking himself the 
victim of a "tall story." His guest reciprocated with equally question- 
ing scrutiny. The next morning, to satisfy Root, the gentleman from 
Albany went to look at the bridge. There was not a single piece of 
planking; only the bare stringers were visible. Van Rensselaer fainted. 

Almost directly south over US 7, about four miles from Great 
Barrington, is SHEFFIELD. No one who has ever seen its Main 
Street can forget the smooth green ribbons of grass that border it, 
the double row of majestic elms which curve gracefully over the side- 
walk, and the long archway of a second double row of elms just 
beyond. This tree-vaulted avenue is delightful at any season of the 
year, whether in leaf of spring or in winter's black and ghostly 
tracery. Snow and ice turn it into a glittering fairyland. 

Long before the visitor has entered this green tunneled vault he 
has seen another glory of the town, five miles to the west, the DOME 
OF MOUNT EVERETT. The summit (alt.2,624) may be over die 
line in the hilltop town of Mount Washington, but the great slopes 
that bolster it up belong to Sheffield. In morning light, or silhouetted 
against the setting sun, the high peaks form a brilliant background for 
the little town on the broad meadows of the valley. 

A county historian in 1829 described Sheffield as consisting of "four 
churches, four general stores, one drug store, one hotel, one park, 
one town haU, and many small cemeteries." This is a bare picture of 
the village nearly a century after the town was incorporated and 
named in honor of Edmund Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, 

The first settler in Sheffield, Matthew Noble, was a hardy pioneer 
if ever there was one, when in 1725 he came alone into the wilderness, 
made friends of the Indians, cleared some land, and put up a log 
cabin. He then returned to Westfield for his daughter, and on horse- 
back they made their way through the dense wood to set up the fijst 
home in Berkshire territory. Neighbors were slow in coming and 
often found themselves in legal difficulties when they did arrive. The 

i66 The Berkshire Hills 

Dutch were like the wait-a-bit thorn in New England forests, a 
constant hindrance to those who would clear land. Under the New 
York Patent of 1705 the western portion of Sheffield was granted to 
the New York State Dutch, who were continually contesting priority 
of title with the English settlers. The grant, however, imposed certain 
conditions regarding rents, settlements, and improvements to be com- 
phed with before the end of a specified term of years. The provisos 
were not observed and the problem of title eventually straightened 
itself out. 

New settlers then began to stream in, and a solid foundation was 
laid not only for Sheffield, but for all Berkshire. In 1735 the com- 
munity considered itself permanent enough to vote that a meeting- 
house should be erected. As an incentive to convert Berkshire forest 
trees into a house of the Lord, they decided to supply "three barrels 
of good Beare for the raising of the meetinghouse, twenty gallons of 
Rhumb . . . and twenty pounds of sugar to go with the Rhumb." A 
fine of ten shillings a day was imposed upon every able-bodied person 
who did not attend the raising. With these inducements to virtue 
and penalties for disobedience, the meetinghouse was soon completed 
on Sheffield Plain, the site of the original settlement, about a mile 
north of the present village center. 

Attendance at church once every three months was compulsory 
in the early days. Four persons in the parish were not attending 
Parson Samuel Hopkins' services, and he requested the tithing man 
to bring them to meeting. Haled before a magistrate after refusal to 
obey the call to service, they had the choice of paying a fine or being 
put in the stocks, and the obdurate fellows chose the stocks. Other 
strict Sunday regulations were in force, as John Pell, one of the 
earliest lawyers in Sheffield, must have known when he decided to 
go traveling on the Lord's Day. He was promptly arrested and fined 
20 shillings, the fine being equally distributed among the three towns 
through which he had passed. 

Until its disestablishment in 1834, everyone in town was taxed 
to support Congregationalism. Citizens with other religious pref- 
erences had to be "certificated" by a civil officer. It is said that a town 
official, disgruntled at the growth of a rival to his own sect, once 
gave a certificate reading: "This is to certify that A.B. has renounced 
the Christian religion and joined the Episcopal Church." 

Locked Among the Hills 167 

When Berkshire and Hampden counties were separated in April, 
1761, Sheffield was declared "to be for the present the county or shire 
town." The glory of this distinction was somewhat dimmed two 
months afterwards when the court house, built in the "North Parish," 
passed into the possession of Great Barrington. Later the capital of 
the county was moved again, this time to Lenox. 

Although the town was never a large industrial center, there was 
a time when it manufactured its own cloth, carriages, and silverware. 
Three sizable tanneries were in operation and a number of iron 
forges, all long since inactive. For a while tobacco was an important 
local crop. Most of the manufacturing was carried on in the section 
known as ASHLEY FALLS, where quarries supplied marble for the 
Boston Customs House and the Court House in New York City. 
After the use of blocks of stone had been abandoned in the building 
trade, the marble was crushed into a fine gravel and shipped away to 
be cast into composite stone of any desired size or shape. Ground 
into powder for use as fertihzer, large quantities of Ashley Falls 
marble dust nourish the potato fields of Aroostook County, Maine. 
The quarry is easily discernible from US 7, and its presence known 
long before it is actually seen. The fine, almost snow-white powder 
films the nearby countryside, giving the small number of Negro 
quarrymen a curious, ghost-like appearance. 

Sheffield is Berkshire's leading agricultural community, its foremost 
center for poultry raising and dairy farming. In 1935 a population of 
1,810 kept 1,615 cows, almost a cow to a person. One of the best of 
the model dairies is on BALSAM HILL FARM, lying off a country 
road east of the river, owned by Albert Chapin, descendant of a line 
that has held the property for a hundred years. 

HEWINS STREET, a group of old run-down farmhouses, lies 
on the same road about a mile and a half south of the Chapin farm. 
A sense of time retarded hangs like a veil over the scene. It is easy 
to imagine the unmechanized world of homespun and ox-carts a 
hundred years ago. Now the old chimneys exist mostly for swifts to 
nest in, the aged trees for owls and whip-poor-wills to flit through, the 
gray cliffs for moss to cling upon. In this atmosphere of the past 
dwells Charles Lindsay, the "water finder," a gende old soul. His 
slow voice is awe-inspiring, as if he were gathering deep, earth-felt 
meanings. Charley knows things long forgotten by his fellow men. 

i68 The Berkshire Hills 

His greatest "gift" is the power to find water with a forked stick. 
Men come from miles around to seek his skill and to hear him tell 
of his experiences in the practice of water-finding. He has suffered 
some defeats, he admits, when men have tried in vain to dig wells 
where his wand indicated water. Great ledges of rock, he declares, 
barred the way, else water would have been found. 

Most of Sheffield's residents, even to the fifth generation, are de- 
scendants of the original settlers. Probably no other town in western 
Massachusetts has a larger percentage of native stock. The growing 
summer population, generally from New England, have bought and 
remodeled many of the old houses. 

Despite its size, Sheffield has contributed men of unusual note to 
the world. Among them was Chester Dewey, famous in the 1830's 
and '40's as a botanist and mineralogist. His early interest in the plants 
and minerals of his native town was broadened by four years at 
WiUiams College. After graduation he was successively a Congrega- 
tional minister, a tutor at Williams, founder of Berkshire Gymnasium 
in Pittsfield, a high school for young men, and finally a professor 
at Rochester University. In his day he was a leading authority on 
mineralogy, geology, fauna, and flora. His service to botany is recog- 
nized in the name of the genus Dewey a, an umbelliferous plant of 
California, and to mineralogy in the name of deweylite, a form of 
magnesium silicate. 

Sheffield was also the birthplace of Frederick Augustus Porter 
Barnard, son of Robert and Augusta Barnard. After filling various 
teaching positions, he was elected President of Columbia University 
in 1864, a position he held until his death. Though he established the 
School of Mines at Columbia, he is best known for broadening the 
scope of the university to include instruction for women. Six months 
after his death in 1889, a college for women was established, appro- 
priately bearing his name. 

Though Sheffield sent few soldiers to the Civil War, it did furnish 
George Francis Root, born here in 1820. At the time of the Civil War 
he was a member of the publishing house of Root and Cady in 
Chicago. President Lincoln had just issued his second call for troops. 
One afternoon Root was resting on a lounge in his brother's home 
when the words and music of "The Battle Cry of Freedom" came to 
him, and the next morning it was a finished song. He did not shoulder 

hocked Among the Hills 169 

a musket, but he served his country well by writing her war songs, 
for after the initial inspiration he went on to write the popular 
"Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching," "Just Before the 
Battle, Mother," and "The Vacant Chair." 

About a mile below Sheffield village, a dirt road leads west from 
US 7 to a spot favored by picnickers — the remarkable group of 
boulders known as BARTHOLOMEW'S COBBLES. They have 
been described by a long-time resident of the village, Walter Prichard 
Eaton, as 

a limestone formation rising in sharp little cliffs directly out of a sickle- 
shaped bend in the river, its white promontories picked out with green 
moss and crowned with pine and cedar. 

One of the oldest houses in Berkshire is the ASHLEY HOUSE, 
in the Ashley Falls section, originally situated about a half mile from 
its present location. It was built in 1735 by John Ashley, a lawyer 
who was among the leading residents of Sheffield, as were his de- 
scendants after him. The two-story, pitch-roofed frame house has a 
large center chimney and interesting detail in the front and side 
entrances; a second floor room has unusual paneling. Ashley, ap- 
pointed Major General of the Massachusetts militia by Governor 
Hancock in 1780, was an ardent patriot. Near the close of the Rebel- 
lion, when the period of enlistment of his troops had expired, they 
were preparing to return to their homes. The General was without 
legal means to compel them to remain in service but he determined 
to try the effect of his eloquence. After a few words of exhortation 
to fight on and win the gratitude of their country, he added: 

"I am going to see who are the brave men and who are the cowards 
among you. I wish you to give me your attention. When I give you 
the word, 'Shoulder arms,' let every brave man bring his musket 
properly to his shoulder, and let every coward slink back out of 
ranks." He stopped a moment, then drew his sword, and added with 
a strong oath, "But remember, that I'll run the first man through the 
body that leaves the ranks. Attention, fellow soldiers: Shoulder arms." 
Needless to say, on sight of the sword, every man's musket sprang 
to his shoulder, and not a soldier broke ranks. 

The old RED MILL at Ashley Falls has been in operation con- 

lyo The Ber\shire Hills 

tinuously for over two hundred years. Visitors are admitted from 
eight to five o'clock. The ancient millstones still grind out a little 
grain for local farmers. In the basement are huge, hand-hewn beams, 
some sixty feet in length, and below the floor may be heard the churn- 
ing of the dark water. Upstairs, everything has been hand-rubbed to 
a glass-like smoothness over the span of years. The floor is polished 
to a lesser degree by the sliding of thousands of bags of grain and 
flour over it. The building sags in the middle because the timbers 
have rotted at the bottom where water splashed against them. At 
the back of the great room are two flour bolters, one still in service, 
though its silk sieve has not been changed within the memory of 
man. The smell of age pervades the place. Old cobwebs hang flour- 
heavy from the ceiling. Now the millstones rarely turn, for little grain 
is raised in Sheffield. Once in a while, some old-fashioned farmer 
brings in his oats and barley, along with a little wheat or buckwheat. 
Then the sluice is opened, the huge millstones begin to turn, and 
the whole building shakes and trembles, like a feeble old man who 
has suddenly renewed for a brief hour the activity of his youth. 

Sheffield may well take an antiquarian's pride in its rare souvenirs 
of a century ago, two COVERED WOODEN BRIDGES. One time- 
worn structure is about a half mile east from the village center and 
spans the sluggish Housatonic. Traffic still passes over the bridge to 
the rattling of the floor boards, as it has for a hundred years. The 
venerable structure is 126 feet long and still has many of the original 
timbers hewed from the forests that were nearby when it was erected. 

On what is now known as the back road from Sheffield Plain to 
South Egremont is a marble monument marking the LAST 
BATTLE OF SHAYS' REBELLION in 1787. About a hundred of 
Shays' men, nearly all from New York State, swept down on Stock- 
bridge one night, and from there set off for Great Barrington to 
make a jail delivery, stopping long enough to replenish themselves 
at the tavern. The shorter way to New York State for the rebels would 
have been the "Knox Trail" through Great Barrington, and on this 
road the militia concentrated most of their forces. For some reason 
the Shays men went by the Sheffield back road, only to be overtaken 
by government troops. After ten minutes of fighting the rebels broke 
and fled, ending Shays' ill-fated Rebellion. 

In the western part of the town of Sheffield and not far from the 

Locked Among the Hills 171 

scene of Shays' last fight, is BOW WOW CEMETERY, a neglected 
but still interesting burial ground, first used several years before the 
Revolutionary War. It is the last resting-place of a number of well- 
known southern Berkshire families. The reason for the name "Bow 
Wow" has never been ascertained. The oldest grave is that of Simon 
Willard, who was killed in 1766, at the age of fifty-six years. There 
is a tradition that Willard was watching the progress of a severe 
thunderstorm from the doorway of his house, when he was struck 
by a bolt of lightning. His untimely end is recorded in the tombstone 

Stop here ye gay and ponder what ye doeth. 
Blue Lightnings flew and swifdy seized my Breath. 
A more tremendous flash will fill the skies, 
When I and all that sleep in death shall rise. 

Among Berkshire small towns, Shefllield is unique in having two 
Negro colonies— IN THE SANDS, at Ashley Falls, and NEW 
GUINEA, a mile west of the center. The 1930 census shows more 
than five times as many colored people in Sheffield as in the rest of 
the county. The original members of the colony were doubtless slaves 
who had escaped from Dutch settlers along the Hudson. Several 
Negro famihes live in New Guinea, in tiny houses or in shacks. One 
member of the colony, Lucius Darling, tells with glee of the only 
time in his life that he left Sheffield for an extended trip. He had a 
hankering to visit Georgia and Florida because his ancestors had 
lived there as slaves. "I was always anxious to see the South," he ex- 
plains with a chuckle, "so I bummed my way down there on the 
freights. But oh, boy! Before I saw anything, they had me arrested 
and put on a chain gang, and I'll never forget it. I can still feel those 
clamps on my ankles. When I got loose I made tracks for Sheffield 
in a hurry, let me tell you, and I ain't left it since. Don't intend to, 

Chapter IX 

ALFORD — Sett. 1740, alt. 960, pop. 210. 

EGREMONT — Mass. 23, sett. 1730, alt. 740, pop. 569. 

MOUNT WASHINGTON—Sctt. 1692, alt. 1670, pop. 64. 

Roads — West from Great Barrington, Castle Street runs to join East Road, 
unnumbered but marked, north to Alford; south of Alford Village West 
Road turns sharply to join Mass 2_j at South Egremont. Going west and 
south from South Egremont, Mass 41 meets Mount Washington or Reser- 
vation Road, a steep and rocf^ dirt road to the summit of the town. 

ALFORD, guarded by Tom Ball range on the east, clings closely to 
the border mountains between New York and Massachusetts. I£ you 
have the leisure to talk fishing, politics, or farming, you will find this 
smallest of Berkshire towns a friendly place, where a glass of cider 
drawn from a barrel in a cool cellar will whet your thirst for con- 
versation. The tempo of the town has not changed with the coming 
of the "summer people" who have built fine new homes and restored 
old farmhouses that had fallen on lean years. Old-fashioned, easygoing 
Alford is not so far off the main traveled routes through Berkshire 
that it is a backwoods village, nor so close as to have taken on the 
frills of a summer resort. 

The scattered houses, white church, and little school are built on 
a narrow shelf of land extending a quarter of a mile along the eastern 
side of the platter-shaped valley. To the south is Mt. Everett, one of 
the highest mountains in Berkshire, 2,624 feet above sea level. The 
western slopes of the valley are checkered with meadow and woodlots, 
mounting toward an unbroken line of trees against the sky. 

Alford was originally part of the town of Great Barrington. The 
earliest settlers who came from Connecticut probably established 
homes in the valley about 1740. In October 1756, they purchased from 
the Indians the piece of land where Alford Center now stands. The 
area was called Shawenon, probably from Shauanon, who, with sev- 


In the Far Corner 173 

eral other Mahican tribesmen, sold the tract for "Twenty Pounds 
paid to us in hand. ..." 

As early as 1769, the Barretts, Johnsons, Hulberts, Wilcoxes, Bakers, 
Mungers, and others who had settled here during a period of some 
twenty years tried unsuccessfully to separate from Great Barrington. 
On February 16, 1773, they finally obtained legislative consent, and 
Alford was incorporated. Perhaps the fame of the pious Colonel John 
Alford of Charlestown, a wealthy merchant who endowed a mis- 
sionary society for Indians and a chair of theology at Harvard in 1761, 
had penetrated to the interior of Berkshire. 

From the beginning Alford was a small industrial center. In 1763, 
when the first grist mill was erected, there were 375 people in the 
town. By the turn of the century, there were six hundred. In 1799, 
Sanford Fitch from Salisbury, Connecticut, settled in Alford and 
shortly afterwards discovered a rich deposit of high-grade marble. 
Investigation revealed several other deposits of equal quality, so that 
from 1800 to 1850 there were a dozen or more quarries operating in 
the town. Marble from Alford was used in the construction of the 
old City Hall in New York City, and in the State House, the Market, 
and the Law Building in Albany. Blacksmith shops, cooper shops, 
a reed factory, saw and grist mills, tanneries, and woodenware con- 
cerns were thriving. With wealth came community improvements. 
By 1817, a UNION MEETING HOUSE for die use of the Congre- 
gational, Baptist, and Methodist worshipers was under way. It still 
stands on the main road near the Town Hall and Schoolhouse. 

The prospect of a bright future was blotted out when the railroad 
ignored Alford and laid its ties through other Berkshire quarry towns. 
Since long hauls over rough land delayed shipments and competition 
with the "iron horse" was impossible, marble quarries were aban- 
doned, and in their wake small enterprises dwindled and died. Many 
former residents of Alford migrated across the state line to New York, 
some moving as far west as Ohio. An early historian of the town 
dryly records, "Alford is remarkable for changing its inhabitants." 
Population decUned until the village lapsed into the rural calm in 
which two hundred residents abide today. 

Dairying, farming, fruit growing, and catering to "summer people" 
make up Alford's economic life. For its size, more farming is carried 
on here than in any other Berkshire town. Acres of the fertile valley 

174 The Ber\shire Hills 

are planted to grain, corn, potatoes, and hay, while over the broad 
hillside pastures run herds of from ten to eighty cows, Alford is 
more interested in the revival of farming than in getting more summer 
business. Newcomers are welcome, of course, and many of them are 
"fine people," according to the townsmen. They show a healthy in- 
terest in the community, take part in civic and social affairs, and 
gradually come to be accepted as "real folks." But few of them culti- 
vate the old farms they buy. They repair the houses, install bathrooms, 
keep the front lawn mowed, and plant shrubs and flower gardens. 
The back fields and pastures grow up to tall grass and brush, and the 
"south meadow" may be turned into a "tennis court, like as not." The 
summer people certainly dress the old farms up, but when the 
assessors come around, that's a different story. There is little left to 
assess. The barns hold motor cars instead of high-bred herds of cattle 
and stores of grain. Farm machinery has long been sold or discarded, 
and crop lands have gone to waste. 

A few of the summer people have carried on where the old Alford 
natives left off. Occasionally a family become all-year residents of the 
town and continue to plant, hoc, and harvest. These are the new- 
comers Alford folks take to their hearts. They talk with pride of the 
stranger who came to town several years ago, bought a stock farm 
on a "shoe string," and went into debt to purchase adequate farm 
machinery. For five years he struggled to make a go of the place and 
pay off his obligations. Today he is one of the most successful farmers 
in the valley and one of the best liked. It takes brains and good farm 
sense to do a job like that. Alford residents recognize that sort of 

The town is looking forward to a program of road building dur- 
ing the next two years. Already plans have been made to construct 
a twenty-four-foot state highway from the junction of Mass 41 and 
Mass 23 in South Egremont through a corner of Alford. In another 
year it will be completed to the New York State Line, connecting 
US 7 in Great Barrington with NY 22 and US 9 in New York. 
Alford anticipates these new highways not so much because they will 
undoubtedly bring more tourists, but because they will provide better 
facilities for marketing farm products. The farmers sell their produce 
"down river," that is, down the Hudson River to New York City. 
As Alford is geographically in the New York milk shed, the efforts 

In the Far Corner 


of the Massachusetts Milk Control Board to persuade these western 
Bay Staters to patronize the Boston market have never been successful. 
The town already has a network of good gravel and oiled county 
and town roads. There are miles of fine drives through the valley, 
flanked with open fields, woodlots, and neat, white houses under tall 
trees. The Alford valley is a joy to the eyes at any season: open 
stretches banked with winter snow; in the spring, the hillsides covered 
with pink and white apple blossoms; the fall foliage a mass of scarlet 
and gold and bronze. 

Astride the West Stockbridge-Alford boundary line in the north- 
eastern part of the town rises TOM BALL MOUNTAIN, the highest 
point of land in the township. On its western slope, just off the West 
Stockbridge road, is the DEVIL'S DEN, a cavern so wide that a load 
of hay can be driven into it. Within the den is a stone altar fashioned 
out of curiously arranged boulders; the stones before it are stained 
as if with sacrificial blood. The visage of Satan appears on a bank 
nearby. Water, constantly dripping, adds to the weird atmosphere, 
reinforcing a popular belief that Indians made sacrifices here. The 
cavern is on the property of Steve Mosher, who permits sightseers to 
cross his farmyard to reach the entrance. 

You have to pass over a part of the Seekonk Brook on your way 
to the Den. The Seekonk is a branch of the Green River, and was 
probably named after an Indian who lived on its banks, although no 
one definitely knows the origin of the name. Over the West Stock- 
bridge town line, the Seekonk, or Alford Brook, as it is sometimes 
called, is controlled by an exclusive trout-fishing club. Alford farmers 
have been roused to action by the restrictions and have posted their 
own lands along the stream. But if you know how to make friends 
and can show a little interest in farming, you will probably be able 
to do some fishing along the Seekonk. There is only one place in 
Alford where you are definitely warned to keep out. The gate of 
the old cemetery on East Road is strung with barbed wire. Only 
they who die in Alford may enter here. 

South of Alford, in a narrow valley hemmed in by the Taconic 
Mountain Range, lies the village of EGREMONT. The base of Mt. 
Everett slopes into the southern corner of the town, thrusting out a 
bald knob called JUG END. One of the loveliest caves in the Berk- 

176 The Ber\shire Hills 

shires is little CRYSTAL POOL, sometimes called the "Cave of 
Beauty," which is one of several on the slope of Jug End. The cavern 
is lined with stalagmites and stalactites, and shows masses of rockflow. 
At the end, a tiny grotto holds a pool of clear water, reflecting in its 
white-bottomed basin the delicate formations along the roof and walls 
of the cave. 

Egremont was incorporated as a town in 1760 and named after 
Charles Windham, Earl of Egremont, the British Secretary of State 
during the Revolution. When the first English setders came into 
the territory in 1730, they found a colony of Dutchmen, including 
Andrew and Robert Karner, and Isaac, John, and Jacob Spoor from 
the Hudson Valley, who had arrived twenty or thirty years earlier, in 
the behef that the territory was part of the colony of New York. 

Egremont was part of the Indian grant made in 1724 by the "sider 
and rum treaty," signed by Konkapot, chief of the Mahicans, and 
twenty other Indians. By this compact, Indian Reservation, as it was 
later known, was set apart for the Mahicans. Previously they had 
made an agreement for ninety-nine years with Andrew Karner for 
half the reservation. According to tradition, Karner got possession of 
the land by a family alliance, allowing his sister to marry John Van 
Guilder, an Indian brought up by a Dutch settler. Van Guilder, whose 
name appears on most of the Indian deeds of southwestern Berkshire, 
is said to have persuaded his tribesmen to sign away their rights that 
he might have Mary Karner as his wife. Karner's title was contested 
by new white settlers, who naturally objected to this arrangement, 
but the General Court of Massachusetts granted the land to him and 
his heirs forever. The Karners were among the wealthiest settlers in 

On Karner's death in 1781, his land, rented at the time, was left 
to the Van Guilder family. When the leases expired in 1832, they 
attempted to gain possession of their inheritance but, rebuffed by 
the courts, withdrew entirely from the state. Their name is preserved 
in Guilder Hollow, Guilder Brook, and Guilder Pond, all except the 
last in Egremont township. 

During the first seventy-five years of its life, Egremont remained 
a typical New England village, with grist and sawmills, small farms, 
tavern, meetinghouse, and general store. The stagecoach that followed 
the turnpike from Albany to Hartford stopped in the town to break 


In the Far Corner 177 

the journey over the hills. Water power from the hillsides was abun- 
dant, and small manufacturing plants were soon established, produc- 
ing chairs, leather goods, glue, boots and shoes, harnesses, and gin. 
Several marble quarries yielded high-grade stone. Egremont was at 
its most prosperous period in the 1840's, and by the middle of the 
century the population had mounted to more than a thousand. 

When David Dalzell came to Egremont from Hudson, New York, 
in 1845, he purchased a carriage factory from Major Karner. Dalzell 
and his two sons worked out novel techniques in the manufacture 
of case-hardened axle boxes. Forty years later the axle works was 
the leading enterprise in town. When "horseless buggies" came in, 
the Dalzells turned to automobile axles and the company proudly 
boasted that "the King of the Sandwich Islands, the President of the 
United States, and Henry Ford" were among their patrons. In the 
early part of the twentieth century the factory was moved to Michi- 
gan to be near the center of the automobile industry. The Dalzell 
plant in Egremont continued to produce axles for carriages and 
wagons, until the overwhelming popularity of the motor car put an 
end to the business. Dalzell Brook still runs through South Egremont, 
but not a trace of the factory is left. 

Contemporary with the axle works was a unique establishment 
for the manufacture of the "Bliss Hoof Cutter," an invention whose 
object was "to supply a tool for hoof cutting that could cut the hardest 
and largest feet without the hard labor that has always accompanied 
this work." 

None of the industries humming in Egremont a hundred years 
ago remains today. Lack of railroad connections and inability to meet 
the stiff competition of cities with better locations and resources started 
Egremont on the downgrade. The twentieth century found the litde 
village drifting into shabby decline. 

In 1932 along came Olde Egremont, Inc. The corporation was 
really an ambitious real estate scheme organized to preserve the 
"antiquity, traditions and architecture of the town." It had an imme- 
diate success, and before the first year had passed, the firm owned 
one-eighth of the assessed valuation of the community. But in the 
years since then they have seen a lessening of enthusiasm and an 
increase of financial difficulties. The future of Olde Egremont is 
uncertain, but the town still hopes it may make a comeback. In its 

178 The Berkshire Hills 

first flush of success, the corporation owned about sixty buildings, 
including Olde Egremont Tavern, a part of which was built in 1830, 
the Egremont Inn, built in 1793, the Village Smithy and Garden 
Shop, Jug End Barn, the Egremont Store, and even the "Ole Swim- 
ming Hole." Permanent ownership of Olde Egremont, Inc., and of 
all real estate within the area was reserved for community develop- 
ment under unified control. Anyone wishing to come to Olde Egre- 
mont and build a home had to be admitted to the Olde Egremont 
Association. If his credentials were acceptable, he purchased stock in 
the company, to cover part of the expenses of road-building and to 
provide electricity and water for the colony. He then became a life 
member of the corporation and the owner of a summer home without 
the necessity of paying taxes, water, electricity or repair bills. 

Berkshire's recreational advantages are always a lure to city 
dwellers, and a good many accepted Olde Egremont's invitation to 
sign up for a home where fishing, golfing, riding, tennis, swimming, 
and other sports were easily available. In the sleepy community, city 
people nostalgic for the "olden days and olden ways" they had never 
experienced, were sold the scenery, the sky, the stars, and country 
food cooked by city chefs. It was the food of their Berkshire fore- 
fathers, minus the lumps and the shucks. There is no industry and 
litde farming in Egremont, but "ye olde tavern" and "ye olde spin- 
ning wheel" were revived. By a careful spin or two, Olde Egremont 
experimented with the past in order to make a living. 

Although swank Olde Egremont, Inc., is apt to usurp the atten- 
tion of visitors to the town, there are still some evidences of the time 
when it was just plain old Egremont. Near the village is the TULLER 
HOUSE, the first brick structure in the town. It was built in 1761 by 
John Tuller, one of the early setders, from bricks baked on his farm. 
The Masonic emblems, a square and a compass, and the year 1761 
are incorporated in the masonry, with the initials "A" for Anna and 
"JT" for John Tuller, and a heart engraved between to show a happy 

About the time that Tuller was building his house, the first church 
in Egremont was organized, and in 1767 the Reverend Eliphalet 
Steele, the first pastor, came to its pulpit. He seems to have been well 
liked and respected until the time of Shays' Rebellion. Steele took the 
side of the government, while most of his parishioners, burdened 

In the Far Corner 179 

with debt, sided with Shays. They invaded his house one night, 
mussed him up a httle, wrecked the furniture, and stole his watch 
and his clothes. When the insurgents were defeated by government 
troops in Great Barrington in 1788, they fled through South Egremont 
into New York, the state militia at their heels. Wounded men were 
cared for by the sympathetic inhabitants of Egremont at the old 
tavern which stood on the site of the present Egremont Inn. 

Churchly and religious matters were events in so small a com- 
munity. The "Methodist saint," Francis Asbury, traversed all this 
region shortly after making himself a bishop. His mild preaching on 
sin and redemption, with the hope of Heaven and fear of Hell, prob- 
ably reinforced Methodism as the favored denomination of the "far 
corner." The fiery, long-haired, and otherwise eccentric shouting 
revivalist, Lorenzo Dow, best-known of the queer circuit riders of 
the early nineteenth century, also penetrated the fastnesses of Mount 
Washington and put up, as his diary shows, with a "strongly Metho- 
dist brother" in Guilder Hollow. 

Of the local clerics the best-remembered was Aaron Kinne, a 
preacher of the old type, who lived in Egremont in 1803 and for 
twenty years sermonized in the various towns of southern Berkshire. 
During a severe drought a special meeting was called that all members 
of the church might pray for rain. The crops were drying up and 
the meadows looked as if they had been scorched by fire. Mr. Kinne 
was asked to lead the meeting, and when the congregation had 
gathered, he called loud and long upon the Almighty to send rain 
to the Berkshires, especially to Egremont and the adjoining town of 
Alford, Then, closing his prayer, he paused and added as an after- 
thought, "But after all our petitions, O God, we would not presume 
to dictate, but we would advise." 

Not far from the meadow whence Mr. Kinne is said to have sent 
up his admonition, a curious old marble tombstone was recendy 
uncovered in a pasture lot on FENTON BROOK FARM. The top 
of the stone had been broken off, but on the spotted surface of the 
lower section this legend was deeply chiseled : 



Old Rye 
Et Hoc Genus Omne 

i8o The Ber\shire Hills 

No one knows why a tombstone should have been erected to cognac, 
rye, and all of that family, but it looks as if a Berkshire wag, electing 
to forswear old friends, had literally buried temptation. 

In the very far corner of the State, on a mountain-fringed plateau 
south of Egremont, and two thousand feet above all neighboring 
towns, is the tiny hamlet of MOUNT WASHINGTON, with its 
sixty-four hardy inhabitants. The only approach to Mount Washing- 
ton from Massachusetts is a narrow gravel road climbing out of South 
Egremont along a small shelf of land. From other towns one must 
go by prolonged detour to get around Mt. Everett. No state highway, 
no railroad, and no store serve the town; no local post office, for 
residents get their mail from Copake, New York, by rural delivery. 
In 1938, no births, no deaths, no marriages. 

The approach to Mount Washington from South Egremont is an 
adventure into real backwoods country. The narrow road clings to 
the steep mountainside; a rickety wooden fence offers doubtful pro- 
tection from a long fall into the ravine below. The road leading up 
to the lookout on Mount Everett is too narrow for two cars. When 
you round a curve and find someone approaching, one driver has to 
back to a turnout. Mount Washington is the most isolated and back- 
woods town in Berkshire. Houses are widely scattered, roads are 
never wide enough for two cars to pass without slowing up. Yet 
out here "in the sticks" of Mount Washington, you see luxurious 
automobiles and liveried chauffeurs unpacking sumptuous lunches 
for a picnic under the trees. 

The center of the town — a little white church and a Town Hall 
that looks like a woodshed — occupies a lonely clearing at a crossroads. 
You would never know it was the "center" of a town, unless some 
native told you so. Yet down the road a mile or so is a smart 
tea house with a menu and the accoutrements of Fifth Avenue. This 
is Mount Washington's only condescension to the visitors who invade 
the town in summer. In winter the town is locked up by narrow^ 
snow-filled roads and slippery hillsides. 

For years Mount Washington has attracted summer visitors who 
"put up" at local farmhouses and boarding houses. The chief of these 
is the "Penny Royal Arms," run by the Spurr family for over half a 
century in the shadow of Mount Everett. It's a sprawling old house, 

In the Far Corner i8i 

set close to the dusty gravel road, with a mixture of dogs, children, 
and "visitors" sitting or walking over the fields that encroach on 
the house from every side. The trip to Mount Washington is worth 
the dusty roads and occasional bumps. 

Almost cut off from neighbors by its ring of mountains, Mount 
Washington has always lived to itself. Even the details of the found- 
ing of the town, the names of the first settlers, whence they came and 
why, are not absolutely known. For years it was believed that a group 
of men from eastern Massachusetts and Connecticut first penetrated 
the mountainous region about 1730. A recent discovery seems to indi- 
cate that there were settlers in Mount Washington forty years earlier 
than that. In the i88o's Herbert Keith, a railroad surveyor from 
Boston, came to Mount Washington to lay out a route for a railroad 
over the Taconics between Poughkeepsie and Springfield, The railroad 
was never built, but while it was under consideration Keith became 
interested in the town and started an investigation into its history. 
When he died in 1922, he left a wooden box filled with original notes, 
maps, genealogical tables, and two small pamphlets published by 
the Berkshire Courier of Great Harrington. The box is still in the 
possession of the selectmen, who believe, as did Keith, that this is the 
oldest town in Berkshire County. Mr. Keith felt he had proof of 
the coming of a colony of Dutch farmers from the Hudson River 
Valley before the close of the seventeenth century. The plateau was 
close to the Dutch settlements along the Hudson, and would have 
been an ideal refuge from Indian attack. Keith's principal reason for 
his contention is a report made to the General Court of Massachusetts 
in 1752, listing the settlers then living west of Sheffield, and recording 
the number of years any one person had cultivated his acreage. It 
indicated that there were six families here at the time, and that the 
land of one John Hallenbeck had been under cultivation for sixty 
years. This would certainly place one settler here in 1692, making 
Keith's claim credible. 

Soon after 1730, when settlers from the east had arrived, this Uttle 
corner of land became involved in difficulties because of the anti-rent 
wars in Columbia County, New York. The governor of that state 
had in 1715 given Robert Livingston, one of the large land-owners 
along the Hudson River, a grant which extended into the present 
Mount Washington. As no definite boundary between the colonies 

i82 The Berkshire Hills 

of Massachusetts and New York had been drawn at the time, there 
was continual dispute over the border territory. The "mountain men" 
from Mount Washington preferred that their land belong to Massa- 
chusetts, where citizens were "free holders" who owned their acres 
outright. In New York, land was held by feudal tenure under the 
grant of some great landowner like Livingston. But Livingston was 
determined that the "mountain men" should pay him rents, and took 
to open warfare. Violence ruled the border. In 1755, William Race, 
a Mount Washington pioneer, was shot to death by members of the 
Livingston party in a section of town near the present Mt. Race, 
probably named for the murdered man. Six years later, Livingston's 
hirelings burned several houses in Mount Washington and drove the 
settlers to seek aid from Sheffield. In 1753 the despairing inhabitants 
of the area petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts that 

. . . your honors in Your Great Wisdom and In your wonted Goodness, 
would be Pleased for to settl us in our Possessions, or, if not, to make a 
Grant of Land to us in a Place to the East of Taghknack and to the west 
of Sheffield, to wit in the mountain, where there is a valley of Land 
Lying betwene two Great mountains, and may contain a few famileys. 
Even to the number as to make a small Parish; but it will cost a Great 
Deal of time to make a road in to the mountain on both side, or to Deal 
with your Poor subjects as in your Great Wisdom and wonted Goodness 
shall think fitt, and we, your poor Petitioners as in Duty bound Shall 
ever Pray. 

Joseph Loomis, George Robinson, Jan Hollenbeck, 
Jacob Loomis, Joseph Orlcutt, Michael Hollenbeck. 

The petition was not granted, and the "mountain men" continued 
their struggle for existence. The boundary dispute was not finally 
settled until 1787, although Mount Washington had been incorporated 
as a town eight years earlier. 

At the height of Mount Washington's activity, in the 1840's and 
1850's, charcoal from the town furnaces supplied the iron smelters 
at Mount Riga in Connecticut, the iron works in Copake, New York, 
and Dalzell's axle factory in Egremont. As elsewhere in Berkshire, 
industry declined and eventually disappeared when the railroads made 
some towns prosperous and left others to "stew in their own juice." 
After i860 Mount Washington became a farming town, renowned 
for its potatoes. The soil was fertile along the plateau and not a potato 

In the Far Corner 183 

bug disturbed production. But even farming gradually declined in 
the tiny town until by 1912, so Herbert Keith reported, not a single 
person was making his whole living off the land. Some people worked 
in New York, others took in summer boarders, and rumor had it 
that still others earned an ilHcit livelihood by distilling "moonshine." 
Dr. Gilbert Van der Smissen, the personal physician of Raymond L. 
Ditmars, famed curator of the New York Zoological Park, is now 
making an attempt to revive potato-raising as a profitable crop. 

Dr. Van der Smissen and Dr. Ditmars originally came to Mount 
Washington to hunt snakes, an old business in the town. The most 
famous snake hunters were members of the Whitbeck family; Russell 
Whitbeck, caretaker of the 1200-acre Mt. Everett State Reservation, 
still hunts them occasionally. The snakes are desired, particularly in 
universities, for herpetological experiment or observation. Since they 
live on almost inaccessible rock ledges east and west of the town, 
tourists rarely encounter them. 

When Dr. Van der Smissen's sisters also came to Mount Wash- 
ington, they lived in the OLD COTTAGE on the main road. This is 
said to have been at one time the home of Mother Ann Lee, founder 
of the Shakers in America, and the place where the first Shaker service 
in New England was held. Near the cottage is MOUNT WASH- 
INGTON CEMETERY, perhaps the oldest burial ground in Berk- 
shire, although the earliest legible stone, that of John Dibble, is 
dated 1772. 

Among other "firsts," the town claims the original Methodist 
church in the county, organized before Bishop Asbury's visit in 1789. 
Keith, the town's most recent "booster," has asserted that Mount 
Washington exercised "far more Christian charity than would be 
tolerated even now (1912) in many places. From earliest times the 
funds from the minister's lot were divided among several denom- 
inations, differing widely in theological belief." Mount Washington 
carries on its tradition of tolerance, using Union Church on East 
Road as the spiritual center for the entire community. 

Eighty-five years ago the southwestern part of the township was 
hardly noted for virtue or piety. This was "Boston Corner," probably 
so named because it was as far as you could get from Boston and 
still be in Massachusetts. The nickname was later changed to "A 
Corner of Hell," and still later, in the nineteenth century, to "Hell's 

184 The Berkshire Hills 

Acres." There is an old superstition that the soil, underlaid with 
minerals, is always hot. More likely "Hell's Acres" had reference to 
the number of horse thieves and counterfeiters who used to make 
the spot their hide-out in pre-Revolutionary times. 

Boston Corner, shut off from the town of Mount Washington by 
a high mountain, was in the 1850's the scene of an illegal prize-fight. 
Massachusetts had ceded the spot to New York in 1853; New York 
did not accept it until 1855. In this No-Man's Land, sporting gentle- 
men of the "Short Boys" and the Empire Club thought to evade the 
laws of both states by pulling off the battle. James ("Yankee") Sulli- 
van and Jack Morrissey were the principals. To keep in trim for the 
bout, Morrissey had walked four miles daily, in shoes that weighed 
five pounds each. Amounts from $500 to $1500 were wagered on the 
outcome of the fistic duel. Sullivan ruled the favorite. 

The battlers fought thirty-seven rounds with bare fists. One report 
gave Sullivan the palm in each of the rounds, total fighting time 
being clocked at fifty-five minutes. There was a row at the end of 
the thirty-seventh round, after which the Yankee did not "come to 
time." A gentleman who said he was at the Corners "on business" 
gave an account of the climax: Morrissey held Sullivan's head under 
his arm, and had it not been for a knock-out blow from one of 
Sullivan's seconds, Morrissey would have broken the Yankee's neck. 
Sullivan, recovering, struck Morrissey while he was still stretched out. 
"Foul" was called and the umpires pinned the victory on Morrissey. 

After the prize-fight, rumor and rage went wild. Morrissey was 
reported dead on October 15. He was alive October 16. The sporting 
gang resorted to Philadelphia to settle bets and wipe the slate clean. 
Sullivan, infuriated by the decision, offered to stake a thousand 
dollars on another run-in with his rival any time within sixty days. 
There was indignation everywhere, from the farmer in the dell to 
the scion of acres on the Hudson. The would-be sports who were not 
able to horn in on the fun cried out loudly — "Get them!" The appeal 
was heeded by Governor Seymour of New York, who looked into the 
matter of his jurisdiction and took measures for haling the pugilists 
into court. Morrissey sailed for England November 7. 

Prizefighter "Yankee" Sullivan put up bail of $1500 on Saturday, 
said the press of November 15, 1853, and left for New York that 
night. Mr. James Sullivan, gentleman, took tea with Sheriff Pease of 

In the Far Corner 185 

Lee, before departing for the metropolis. Said the righteous, in bitter 
criticism, "Sullivan will never show his head in Massachusetts again." 
Boston Corner returned to its chores. 

Along East Road, which winds upward from South Egremont 
to the base of Mt. Everett, is the site of "SKY FARM," home of the 
"Apple Blossom Poets," Elaine and Dora Goodale, whose verse was 
written when they were twelve and fourteen years of age. The 
Goodales were very much of the Berkshires; their grandfather had 
been a prosperous farmer and owner of a marble quarry in Egremont. 
Their farmer father, Henry Sterling Goodale, was also a poet. Between 
1870 and 1885 poetry by the sisters and their mother in St. Nicholas, 
Harper's, Good Housef^eeping, and other magazines was widely read 
and admired. A poem in their first volume (1878) gave a title to the 
book and bestowed an epithet on the young girls. It is a description 
of their home in apple blossom time: 

The sky is rich in shimmering sheen 

Of deep, delicious blue; 
The earth is freshly, softly green, 

Of one translucent hue; 
The choir of birds in wood and field 

Ring out a happy chime; 
The trees their fairest foliage yield 

In apple-blossom time. 

Also native to the Mount Washington region was the book pub- 
lished two years later, In Berkshire with the Wild Flowers. Twenty- 
nine poems supposedly cover all the local flora — hepatica, anemone, 
trailing arbutus, mountain laurel, and others. The undistinguished 
versifying in the early Bryant tradition is now and again reHeved by 
poems as imaginative as the one on the Indian Pipe, beginning 

Death in the wood 
Death, and a scent of decay; 

Death, and a horror that creeps with the blood. 
And stiffens the limbs to clay; 

For the rains are heavy and slow, 
And the leaves are shrunken and wan, 

And the winds are sobbing weary and low 
And the life of the year is gone. 

i86 The Berkshire Hills 

Accessible from the South Egremont road into Mount Washington 
is the Bash Bish State Forest, pride of Mount Washington, where 
the famous BASH BISH FALLS make a drop of two hundred feet. 
When the narrow mountainside road emerges into a clearing the road 
branches, the right fork going to Bash Bish. From a bridge across 
Bash Bish Brook, near the New York State Line, a trail leads north 
through the woods to PROFILE ROCK atop a perpendicular cliff. 
In June the whole area is thick with azaleas, and the forest floor 
carpeted with ladyslippers. The rock overlooks a gorge, into which 
plunge Bash Bish Falls. 

In the pool two hundred feet below, according to an Indian legend, 
is to be seen the "spirit profile" of the beautiful Indian maiden. 
White Swan, the daughter of a witch who lived beneath the falls. 
The girl was married to a handsome young brave whom she loved 
dearly. Because she proved childless, her husband after some years 
took another wife. White Swan began to pine and brood by the falls, 
often gazing for hours into the water below. To the despairing maiden 
came one day the voice of her mother, whom she had never known, 
calling to her from beneath the cataract. With an answering cry of 
joy, she plunged over the cliff, to drown just as her husband came 
through the forest. He leaped after her in a vain attempt at rescue. 
Next day the brave's body was found, but his bride had disappeared. 
They say the lovely maiden and her mother still live behind the 
falls, and on moonlight nights White Swan smiles in the clear pool. 

Chapter X 

NEW MARLBOROUGH— Sett. 1739, alt. 720, pop. 921. 

MONTEREY — Mass 23, sett. 1739, alt. 1200, pop. 325. 

TYRINGHAM— Sett. 1735, alt. 900, pop. 243. 

SANDISFIELD—Mass 8, sett. 1750, alt. 880, pop. 471. 

Roads — About 5 miles east of Great Barrington off Mass 2^ is the La]{e 
Buel Road running south to New Marlborough, Monterey is on Mass 2j. 
Off Mass 2^ north from West Otis is an improved road to Tyringham. 
To reach Sandisfield, continue east to Otis on Mass 25 and then south on 
Mass 8 to New Boston. 

Not one of the towns of New Marlborough, Monterey, Tyringham, 
and Sandisfield, is on the railroad, and only Monterey and Sandisfield 
are on a main highway. Manufactures and farm produce were exported 
by wagon and ox team in the old days, but the advent of the railroad 
through Berkshire in the 1840's diverted all traffic toward towns more 
fortunately situated. The four sequestered southern Berkshire settle- 
ments watched factories move away and saw men grow tired of 
farming worn-out lands. Slowly the cities drained backwoods Berk- 
shire of its young blood. 

The isolation that once crippled these Berkshire villages now may 
prove their saving grace. Today the region is a haven for summer 
people in quest of hills, rivers, and the smell of growing things after 
months of subway jams and city uproar. To the practical Yankees of 
the villages, the summer army of occupation means a market for farm 
produce and a season of employment. They would never willingly 
admit that they rather welcome contact with urban sophistication, 
and that doings and sayings of the warm-weather transients provide 
topics of conversation all winter long. 

NEW MARLBOROUGH'S first settler, Benjamin Wheeler, built 
a shack here in 1739. Miles of forest separated him from his home and 
family in Marlborough, Middlesex County, which had been given a 


i88 The Berkshire Hills 

grant of this western territory. A Berkshire annaHst, drawing on his 
pipe, meditated at length about this lonely pioneer : "Picture the fellow, 
sitting all alone in the forest, thinking of the hills back of hills that 
cut him ofl from his folks. There must have been times he felt like 
running back, but he didn't, and the only thing that ran was the 
silvery brook near his first rude cabin. They even named the creek 
Anthony's Brook, after the last Indian to live in the town, and poor 
old Benjamin Wheeler didn't get so much as a brook named after 
him, much less a township, like ought to have been done." 

Wheeler found the Indians friendly, although they forbade him 
to fire a gun in the forest because the noise frightened away the 
game. When he protested, they gave him a bow and arrow, and Ben 
almost starved that first winter. He was about to kill his horse or dog 
for food, when settlers from Sheffield, who had heard of his plight, 
arrived with provisions. This is the "memorable hard winter" recorded 
in the town annals. He brought his family next year from the older 
Marlborough and built a permanent home by Anthony's Brook 
where five generations of Benjamin Wheelers continued to live. 

The four townships adjoining New Marlborough had been estab- 
lished along the Great Road between Westfield and Sheffield in 
1735. It was hoped that a line of settlements between the Connecticut 
and Housatonic Valleys would open a shorter route for the Colonial 
troops to move against the French and their Indian allies. 

New Marlborough, organized as a district in 1735 and incor- 
porated in 1759, spreads over shallow valleys through which flow 
the Konkapot River and its tributaries. Low rolling hills separate it 
from the Housatonic Valley on the west, and another winding range 
cuts it off from the Farmington Valley to the east. There are no hotels, 
no railroad, and no state highway, except for a short stretch that 
crosses the southwestern corner. But the town is proud of its mileage 
of well-kept macadam and dirt roads, its trout streams, hills, and 
meadows. Mass 23, the road to New Marlborough from Great Bar- 
rington, forks southeast at the Lake Buel store not far from the 
Great Barrington-Monterey town line. It runs through the forest, 
past Lake Buel, into the small settlement of Hartsville on the banks 
of the Konkapot, famous throughout western Massachusetts for its 

The BerJ{shires Invaded 189 

fishing. Just beyond the center of Hartsville a dirt road runs east 
to the FEDERAL FISH HATCHERY, which keeps this section of 
the river stocked with rainbow and brook trout. 

The Konkapot, named after the famous chief of the Mahicans, 
provided water power for industry from 1836 to 1876. Along its banks 
a dozen or more factories produced paper, textiles, powder, wooden- 
ware, and carriages. Today the only survivals of this era are a few 
ruined dams, half-hidden by brush. 

Driving south from Hartsville, you come to NEW MARL- 
BOROUGH VILLAGE, the oldest corner of the five-sided township. 
Prim white houses cluster about the Village Green, and very old trees 
shadow the plot. The little church set apart near the head of the 
common is crowned with a dome in place of the traditional New 
England spire. But the town itself is a chip o£E old New England, and 
the newcomers who have restored some of its old homes would Hke 
to keep it unspoiled. 

In times past, the Village was a midway station on the old stage- 
coach line operating from Hartford to Albany, and could claim 
taverns, fine houses, and a population of over five hundred, of which 
only a few scattered families remain. The oldest house in the New 
Marlborough township is the RICHARDSON HOUSE, built in 
1745. In this sturdy, square structure, with low ceilings and enormous 
fireplaces, was born Mrs. Laura Smith (Catlin) Richardson, who 
initiated the practice of putting small American flags on the graves 
of soldiers buried in national cemeteries. 

In 1833 the learned blacksmith, Ehhu Burritt, operated a smithy 
here, and the BURRITT STATUE in the Village commemorates the 
polyglot workingman. 

In the OLD BURYING GROUND of New Marlborough, about 
half a mile from the Village on the road that runs left from the 
center, black field-stones mark the graves of the early settlers. Much 
of the lettering is as legible as when it was first carved, though over- 
grown with lichens and green moss. Here, sheltered by a tall old 
pine, is the grave of the town's first settler, Benjamin Wheeler. Not 
far off, on one of the largest stones in the cemetery, is inscribed an 
unusual tribute to a beloved stepmother: 

ipo The Ber\shire Hills 

Sacred to the memory of 
Mrs Elisabeth Strong, 2'nd 
Wife of the Rev. Thomas 
Strong, late of New Marl- 
borough deceased, wife departed 
this life Dec 21 AD 1775, in 
the 55, year of her age. 

The Stepchildren of the deceased 

remembering with gratitude 

her kindness to them, in their 

tender years, place this stone. 

Ye Step-mothers! 
follow her example & ye 
shall not lose your reward 

Amusing, despite its labored gravity, is the epitaph on the stone erected 
to Mrs, Elizabeth Sheldon: 


to the memory 

of Mrs. Elizabeth 

Sheldon wife of Mr 

Erastus Sheldon 

who departed this 

life Jan 5th 1809 

AE . 24 

Oh may you scorn these 

cloths of flesh 

These fetters and this load 

And long for evening to undress 

That you may rest with God 

New Marlborough was a Whig stronghold until 1832, when the 
Democrats were roused to champion Andrew Jackson's cause. As 
newspapers were still rare in country towns, those that did reach the 
people were believed to print only gospel truth. Taking advantage of 
this attitude, the local Jacksonians arranged to have two hundred 
copies of the ardently Democratic New Yor\ Evening Post sent into 
New Marlborough each week. They estimated that a month of 
Jacksonian newspaper propaganda just before election converted more 
than forty Whigs. 

Colonel Fitch was the Democratic and Squire Benjamin Sheldon 
the Whig candidate for representative. The vote resulted in a tie and 

The Berkjhires Invaded 191 

had to be repeated. This time the Whigs were determined to spike 
their opponents' guns, and set out on a frenzied campaign to collect 
votes. Since the Democrats proved no less vigorous, the contest 
became so bitter that even good neighbors lost faith in one another. 
Two old friends of long standing in the town, Fairbanks, a Whig, 
and Coles, a Democrat, agreed that neither would vote. As election 
day approached, the Whigs told Fairbanks that his neighbor had 
double-crossed him and had already gone to the polls. Fairbanks 
marched into the hall in a rage and cast his ballot amid loud Whig 
cheers, while the Democrats proceeded to round up the innocent 
Mr. Coles and bring him in just in time. 

One loyal Democrat, named Aaron Stevens, had been seriously 
injured some days before, but he was nevertheless propped up in a 
wagon and carried to the polls. The Whigs retaliated by sending 
another wagon for a Mr. Woodworth of Mill River, who, in the last 
stages of tuberculosis, was delivered at the polls in his bed, and died 
that night. Two minutes before voting ended, one party found a man 
lying drunk in a woodlot, bundled him off to the polls, and placed 
a ballot in his hand. When his arm was given a good shake by one 
of the assistants, he had done his duty. Despite this fantastic com- 
petition, the last ballot still showed the election to be undecided. 

Two miles to the south of sleepy New Marlborough Village is 
the more alert community of SOUTHFIELD, praised thirty years ago 
as a "modern village, spic and span . . . neat and clean looking." 
The description still fits the large white houses set in lawns and 
gardens. Labor today is largely concentrated in the only surviving 
manufacturing plant, the Turner and Cook Shop, which in its prime 
turned out the largest number of rawhide whip centers of any plant 
in the United States; now it makes belt pins for industrial machines. 

The strip of state highway that runs from Southfield to the Con- 
necticut State Line was won only after some shrewd strategy by 
residents of the town insistent on a good road laid to their very doors. 
The State Highway Commission said a traffic census would have to 
be taken before the award was made. If traffic warranted the construc- 
tion of a new road, it would be built; if not, it wouldn't. The date 
of the census leaked out. By strange coincidence the proprietors of 
the factory nearby made the day a holiday for their employees. It 
was also suggested that the free time might profitably be spent ia 

192 The Ber\shire Hills 

driving around the countryside to see the sights. Or was the suggestion 
a command? Whatever the wording, that day cars whizzed back and 
forth between Southfieid and Canaan from morning to night, pro- 
ducing heavy traffic impressive to the out-of-town census-takers. The 
road was built. 

Near Soudifield is TIPPING ROCK, a forty-ton boulder which 
can be swayed by the pressure of one finger. 

EAST INDIA POND, where pickerel and perch are as plentiful 
as trout in the Konkapot, lies about four and a half miles southeast 
of Southfieid in the middle of a large tract of privately owned forest. 
A narrow dirt trail, good in dry weather, goes east from the South- 
field-Norfolk Road, so that the true adventurer can get through to 
the Pond on foot, provided he first obtains permission from Mr. Pratt, 
the caretaker, who lives at the junction of the main road and the 
Pond trail. 

East India Pond is sometimes called Hermit Pond, after the 
recluse who lived here long ago. Six years before the Revolution, 
Timothy Leonard, whose spirit had been soured by life and its 
manifold vanities, built a hut in these parts. He shunned the company 
of all mankind, and on the subject of women is said to have ex- 
pressed himself without romantic overtone: 

They say they will and they won't, 
What they promise to do, they don't. 

Five miles from Southfieid near the road to Norfolk are CAMP- 
BELL FALLS, which rush over a split rock ledge in a gulch of 
evergreen woods. Boys of the Civilian Conservation Corps have cleared 
ground for a parking space and cut out good foot trails. Nearby in a 
grove of pines are picnic grounds. 

The wild Huxley Hill country around the Falls is inhabited by 
isolated families of hillbillies, descendants of Yankee pioneers who, 
like the mountain whites of Kentucky, have deteriorated through 
generations of inbreeding and poverty. They maintain litde or no 
contact with the townspeople, for the land and the forest supply the 
necessities of their existence. Should you attempt to buy a gallon of 
their maple syrup, the hillbilUes will prove enormously distrustful — 
that is, if they come out from hiding at aU; more likely they'll stay 
behind a shut door until the stranger goes on his way. 


PUS i 

Note the porch roof built around old elms 

The Ber\shires Invaded 193 

Returning from the Falls to the Southfield-Norfolk road, the right 
turn goes to Norfolk, Connecticut. To reach the largest village in the 
township, MILL RIVER, the leisurely traveler takes this road, and 
turning right at the triangle in Norfolk, goes west a few miles to 
the Whiting River, and turns north up the Canaan Valley road. Turn 
left again at a small cemetery on the left to CLAYTON, the southern- 
most settlement in Berkshire. The northern route from this village 
follows the Konkapot River past some of the richest farming land in 
New Marlborough. The tourist in a hurry will retrace his route from 
the Falls back to Southfield and along an unpaved road which goes 
west into Mill River. South of the village and just oflF a narrow country 
road are UMPACHENEE FALLS, a cataract which dashes down a 
flight of rock stairs for over half a mile. 

Mill River was a thriving setdement from 1830 until the 1870's, 
with a large population of Yankee and Irish mill workers. In 1739 
one of the first dams in Berkshire County is said to have been built 
here, behind the present site of the library. Although at one time the 
community was a minor paper-making center with a promising future, 
its bright prospects did not materialize, and the village today is 
quiet and lonely. In addition to the Hbrary, it has a general store, a 
white town hall, and a dozen or so neat houses. 

The MILL RIVER LIBRARY houses a queer-looking contrap- 
tion that resembles a cheese press. And that is cxacdy what it was 
before Marcus Rogers decided he wanted to be a printer. As the 
cheapest press cost $150, a magnificent sum to a New Marlborough 
boy, Rogers rigged his mother's dairy implement into what he hoped 
would be a printing press. With only a matchbox full of type o£ 
various points, he proceeded to issue his first newspaper, The Rising 
Sun, which during the years 1854-55 S^^^ townspeople the latest news. 
Although in the years that followed Rogers became a man of wealth 
and importance. New Marlborough best remembers him as the 
editor and owner of The Sun. There was nothing dull or imitative 
about his little journal; he wrote articles on "The Names of the 
Teeth," "The Female Influence," and "The Doom of the World." 
As his paper was addressed to all members of the family, news of 
the latest styles vied for attention with up-to-the-minute political 
gossip. New Marlborough ladies must have perked up at such 
items as: 

194 '^^^ Berkshire Hills 

Godey's Lady's Book for May has been received. The illustrations are 
admirable. "The Motherless Daughter" is a picture of purity and beauty. 
The Color Fashionplates present figures with the grace of fairies and 
the beauty of angels. The plate "Cinderella" made us snicker right out. 
V/e can get along without a wife, but not without Godey's. 

When The Rising Sun had become a full-fledged newspaper and 
acquired a substantial circulation, Rogers went in for "Personals," no 
slight innovation in those days when the press printed very little 
local news except accounts of fires, crimes, and accidents. While the 
owner of the Berkshire Courier at Great Barrington, Rogers began 
the accumulation of a fortune by inventing a machine for folding 
newspapers. In 1887 he purchased the Berkshire Eagle of Pittsfield 
and almost doubled its circulation. Although he spent much of his 
later life in travel, Berkshire was Rogers' first love and he retained 
an ardent interest in anything pertaining to the county. By his efforts 
the little library in Mill River was built. 

Near the center of town is a tiny cemetery where inscriptions, 
alternately pathetic and amusing, are still legible on the worn stones. 
One lady, who must have been either rich or beautiful, was: 

Polly Rhodes 
Being the wife of five husbands 

Underneath, the husbands are listed by name as ist, 2nd, 3rd, et cetera. 

After you have sauntered around Mill River, visited the general 
store, or watched the road crew at work, you may hear a few tales 
about old times in New Marlborough. Perhaps someone will tell you 
the story Grandfather Sisson used to relate so flourishingly, about a 
woodchopper he once employed. 

Caught in a thunder shower while working in the woods, the 
man made for a hollow tree and with great difficulty managed to 
squeeze himself into it. Then Hghtning struck the tree, stunning the 
woodchopper; when he came to his senses, he found that the tree 
had somehow closed about him and he was unable to free himself 
from its embrace, no matter how much he yelled, shouted, cursed, 
and prayed. No help arrived; he was deep in the woods and far from 
any human habitation. 

"Mercy! how did the poor fellow get out.?" the rapt listener 

The Berkshires Invaded 195 

invariably gasped at this point, for even Grandfather Sisson would 
have a tough job getting a fellow out of a tree that had wound itself 
about him. 

"Oh, he got out easy enough in the end," Mr. Sisson used to drawl. 
"He suddenly remembered that he was a d — d Democrat, and it made 
him feel so small that he just sHpped out of a crack." 

MONTEREY used to be called "Green Woods," an appropriate 
name. When the southern part of Tyringham became a separate town 
during the Mexican War, patriotic selectmen wished to name it in 
commemoration of General Zachary Taylor's battles in Mexico and 
Texas, but Palo Alto and Buena Vista were too foreign-sounding. 
Monterey was musical and not too hard to pronounce, so Monterey it 
became. That was in 1847, one year before General Taylor was elected 
President. During the sixteen months he held office, the town felt 
that it had made a gracious gesture. In later years, when Monterey 
sounded a little fancy to the younger townspeople, they consoled 
themselves for not having something more homespun by remember- 
ing that eleven other states had towns of the same name and with as 
litde excuse. 

Monterey is now largely dependent on the summer people who 
have built new homes or restored old ones, but seventy years ago it 
was an industrial center with cotton mills, two rat-trap factories, and a 
plant for manufacturing paper. Although industry has moved away, 
some farming and a great deal of trapping are still carried on. Until 
the steel trap law was passed in 1930, Monterey led all the Berkshire 
towns in the fur industry; after the repeal of the law four years later, 
the trapping of mink, skunk, and muskrat was to a large extent 
resumed. The rocky crags of Mount Hunger in the eastern section 
of the town are wildcat lairs, and more bounties are paid to Monterey 
residents than to those of any other Berkshire town. Equally reliable 
as sources of income to the natives are the hundreds of summer places 
along the shores of Lake Garfield and Lake Buel, which is shared 
with New Marlborough. Both lakes are for the most part privately 
owned, although they have one or two small public beaches. 

Among the earliest settlers of Monterey were Tristian Steadman, 
who settled near the Otis line, Isaac Benedict, who set up the first 
tavern, and Lieut. Isaac Garfield. LAKE GARFIELD was first called 

196 The Berkshire Hills 

Twelve Mile Pond, and later Brewer Pond after Capt. John Brewer, 
who lived on the northern shore. As the original family consisted of 
thirteen children and subsequent generations equaled or surpassed the 
initial figure, there were plenty of Brewers around for a good many 
years. In 1881 Monterey decided to name the lake after President 
James Garfield, who in his youth had visited relatives in the town. 
But the actual christening was a sad occasion, for two days before the 
ceremony the President was shot by an assassin. The lake, famous 
throughout Berkshire for its fighting black bass and large pickerel, is 
visible through the thick foliage along Mass 23. On the northern side 
its waters drop to fifty-foot depths from submerged ledges, but the 
south and east shores are shallow, with sand bottom and beaches 
for bathing. 

Near the shore is INDIAN CAVE, set back in the woods, where 
the last Indian seen in Monterey was supposed to have lived. The 
cave is so small, however, that unless its occupant was an aboriginal 
pigmy, he must have had to double up to get in and out. When the 
property was purchased by a new owner a few years ago, a sign with 
the head of an Indian was put up to show travelers the way to the 
cave. Too many travelers proved curious, the marker was removed, 
and now Indian Cave is hidden in the woods. The property where 
the cave is located is owned today by Henry Ware Eaton of New 
York, whose pretentious summer home, EATON VILLA, is erected 
on a sloping ledge and anchored by steel cables to hold it in place. 

Monterey's development as a "summer town" commenced in 1894 
with the building of several cottages along the southern shore of Lake 
Garfield. The number of cottages increased, camps for boys and girls 
were established, and by 1929 the total summer population approached 
eighteen hundred. The Berkshire Art School, a mile above the lake, 
was founded by Raymond P. Ensign in 1915 and is open for six weeks 
during the summer months. 

Off Mass 23, leading out of Monterey to Great Barrington, is a 
road to the right directly into the Headquarters of the supervisor of 
BEARTOWN STATE FOREST, one of the large reservations in 
the county. It comprises 7999 acres, the greater part within the limits 
FOREST, a tract of almost a thousand acres entirely within town 
bounds, is also open to lovers of the woods. A section has been set 

The Ber\shires Invaded 197 

aside for a wild-life preserve where birds and animals may be secure 
from the guns of sportsmen. 

At the present time the State is conducting interesting experiments 
within Beartown State Forest that may eventually lead to the revival 
of a sport not practised in New England for the last hundred years — 
gunning for wild turkey. The thrifty Yankee may soon be taking 
down his rifle and, at Thanksgiving, with his bone turkey-call handy, 
going into the forest to pick off the first black turkey he finds roosting 
in an oak tree. The Commissioner of Conservation has been introduc- 
ing wild turkey, common in the State up to 1850, into Beartown 
Forest. In the fall of 1938 as many as twenty of these rare fowl were 
seen in the forest, survivals of importations started in 1935 by the 
More Game Birds in America Foundation. As a yearly brood of 
twelve chicks may be expected from each hen, it should not be long 
before the birds come out of the sanctuary where they enjoy the soya 
beans, clover, buckwheat, and millet planted for their special benefit. 

The less zestful amusements of picnicking and mountain-climbing 
will probably have to serve for some time. Beartown Road leads from 
the Forest Supervisor's Headquarters to BENEDICT POND, fitted 
with fireplaces and tables for a lunch in the wildwood ; from the pond, 
Mt. Wilcox Road goes off to the right, joining Sky Peak Road into 
Tyringham. On the summit of Mt. Wilcox looms a great fire tower, 
rising from a height of over two thousand feet. 

Monterey doesn't boast of its green woods, its lakes, its sports. 
Monterey doesn't boast of anything. People are driven to ask questions 
about the town, especially about the roads. They can never understand 
Monterey's attitude toward roads, for the highway between West Otis 
and Great Barrington, which comes from Springfield, is the only main 
road in town, and the people of Monterey don't mind. The casual 
traveler is shocked by such backwardness. 

"The town'll stagnate," he urges; "it'll go to seed." A native grins. 
So does a summer visitor who is listening in. 

"Praise God," murmurs the summer visitor. 

TYRINGHAM, next door to Monterey, is shut off on three sides 
by mountains, and by inclination might bar the fourth side as well. 
; It hasn't even a main highway. From West Otis, where an abandoned 

church and a weatherbeaten old house stand together, an improved 

198 The Berkshire Hills 

road turns left off Mass 23 into the valley of which Richard Watson 
Gilder wrote: 

Down in the meadow and up on the height 
The breezes are blowing the billows white. 

In the elms and maples the robins call 

And the great black crow sails over all 
In Tyringham, Tyringham Valley. 

Gilder came from New Jersey by way of Delaware, Barbados, and 
Kent, England. As editor of Scribner's, which later became the 
Century Magazine, he was a power in the literary world from 1870 
to his death in 1909. In 1898 he built Four Brooks Farm in Tyringham. 
Frances Folsom, later the wife of President Cleveland, was a good 
friend of the Gilders, and both she and the President were guests 
at the Tyringham retreat. The Berkshire village inspired Gilder's book 
of poems, In Tyringham Valley, and led him also to eulogies in prose: 

Tyringham Is a state of nature; it is bounded on the north by fountains 
that never fail, great clouds of laurel and the Great Bear; on the south 
by Willow Glen, Tyringham River, the ghosts of Mother Ann and her 
fellow Shakers; the ponderous shadows of Fernside Forest and the high 
horizon line of the Shaker hills; on the east by the purple dawn on the 
west by a hundred sunsets. 

From Lenox the novelist Edith Wharton was moved to write her 
"Moonrise over Tyringham," more subjective than Gilder's verse: 

Yet see — night is not: by translucent ways, 

Up the gray void of autumn afternoon 
Steals a mild crescent, charioted in haze. 

And all the air is merciful as June. 

The lake is a forgotten streak of day 

That trembles through the hemlock's darkling bars 

And still, my heart, still some divine delay 
Upon the threshold holds the earliest stars. 

In Gilder's wake an unusual group came to the valley: Joseph 
Jefferson, actor, John Burroughs, naturalist, Daniel Chester French 
and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptors, Ossip Gabrilowitch, pianist, 
Cecilia Beaux, artist, and Henry Adams, noted author and medieval 

The Berkshires Invaded 199 

scholar. Mark Twain, summering here, presented the local Ubrary with 
a complete set of his books. 

Gilder's remark about Mother Ann's ghost brings to mind the 
Shaker settlement of 1792. From an original group of nine, it grew 
to over a hundred by 1852, when they had nearly fifteen hundred 
acres under cultivation. Their views on celibacy made converts rather 
difficult to obtain, and members occasionally ran away to escape the 
iron discipline characteristic of the cult everywhere. In vain the 
Shakers trudged annually up the steep hill behind their workshops 
to the Shaking Ground, where they "shook off" their sins at the 
"Devil's Grave"; in vain they prayed in their wholly imaginary taber- 
nacle on the summit of Mt. Horeb. By 1874 there were too few left 
to work the land; they were compelled to sell their property and 
migrate to other Shaker communities. 

The land was purchased by Joseph Jones of Honesdale, Pennsyl- 
vania, who was confident that summer visitors would frequent Tyring- 
ham if he provided them with dwelling places. His guess was shrewd 
and the invasion was on. Summer residents finally cooperated to 
purchase the colony and restore many of the buildings, though the 
oldest of the Shaker dwellings, a house erected in 1776, had to be 
torn down in 1881. Two large houses were combined into a club- 
house where what the Berkshire newspapers called "a galaxy of 
notables" gathered for diversion. The colony, called FERNSIDE, 
is southwest of the town center, across the narrow valley of Hop 
Brook. Although the clubhouse is no longer in use, the surrounding 
structures continue to be occupied during the summer months by 
city people. Tyringham lives up to the boast of its historian: "Once 
a swampy tangle of hops, ivy, and hemlock, now the most beautiful 
valley in the Berkshire." 

One of the leaders in the restoration of the Shaker Colony was 
Mrs. Robb de Peyster Tytus, wife of the well-known Egyptologist. 
Mr. and Mrs. Tytus, on their honeymoon in Tyringham, were so 
attracted by the town that Mr. Tytus purchased an eight-hundred- 
acre estate. He built a marble mansion called ASHINTULLY, from 
the Egyptian meaning "Over the Hill." It is locally known as Tytus 
Folly because of its great size and elaborate design. Some thought it 
ought to be called Tytus Hoodoo. Ashintully seems enormous, for it 
dominates the landscape from a mountain shelf at the southeastern 

200 The Berkshire Hills 

end of the town and suggests a king's palace or a state capitol. When 
Mr. and Mrs. Tytus were alive, the house was filled with rare and 
priceless objects of art. Henry Adams once spent a restless night in the 
Flemish tapestry room, emerging heavy-eyed in the morning to insist 
that the woman in an Italian painting over his bed had kept him 
awake with her talking. An Egyptian museum contained objects 
brought back by Mr. Tytus's expedition to Egypt. He had explored 
the tombs of the Pharaohs, and superstitious people liked to believe 
that a curse descended upon the family because they had disturbed the 
sleeping kings of Egypt. Mr. Tytus died two years after Ashintully 
was completed, and his widow later married John Stewart McLennan, 
a Canadian senator whom she divorced a year before her death in 
1928. Mildred Tytus, a daughter, was killed in an automobile accident 
in 1934. Daughter and parents are buried in sepulchers hewn from 
solid rock on the summit of Round Mountain, about a mile and a 
half from the marble mansion. The path to these graves is so pre- 
carious that it can be traveled only on foot. 

The town boasts an even more extraordinary structure, the home 
of Henry Hudson Kitson, sculptor. When Mr. Kitson, an Englishman 
by birth and an American by adoption, came to Tyringham three 
decades ago, he erected in the yard of the house he had purchased 
an edifice faintly resembling a Tahitian chief's hut. The thatched 
roof of the main building is composed of strips of felt and slate laid 
on rafters. Behind this hut-like studio stands a cone-shaped tower 
room. The high fence is constructed of rough brushwood. Huge 
chunks of rock, irregularly placed, are piled against the walls, leaving 
only narrow doors with brighdy painted lintels as entrance to the 
odd house. Here Kitson has carved many famous works, including 
the Pilgrim Maiden at Plymouth, the Continental Soldier at Wash- 
ington's headquarters in Newburgh, New York, the Minute Man 
at Lexington, the Coolidge Portrait-Relief on South Mountain and, 
most recently, the John and Priscilla Aid en Memorial. 

Visitors to Tyringham find it hard to imagine that the town was 
an industrial center in the middle nineteenth century, and that nearly 
every stream draining into the valley turned a waterwheel. There 
were lime kilns, textile mills and, in the center, the Turkey Paper 
Mills, where fine writing paper was manufactured. When the railroad 
went to Lee, the paper mills followed; gradually other industries either 

The Berkshires Invaded 201 

moved away or were abandoned. All that remained to Tyringham, 
besides a crumbling paper mill near the center of town, was the 
famous STEADMAN RAKE SHOP. Tyringham has been noted 
for Steadman rakes ever since Captain Tom, the first of the family, 
deserted Cape Cod for Berkshire. He settled near Hop Brook, and 
established a factory still operated by the Steadman family after five 
generations. The original Rake Shop was moved years ago to its 
present location near the old dam, and is always open to visitors. 

Since Garfield, every President of the United States has testified 
to the excellence of Steadman handmade wooden rakes. On the 
Coolidge family farm at Plymouth, Vermont, a Berkshire Congress- 
man dehvered two rakes to the President with Mr. Steadman's 

"Handmade of native hickory," said the Congressman. CooHdge 
took the rakes, and after examining them minutely remarked, "This 
part is ash." 

"Oh, yes, so it is!" responded the emissary. 

"So is the handle," added the President. 

"Why, I guess it is, at that." 

"These are hickory," observed the Vermonter, pointing to the 
rounded cross-pieces fitted into the tooth bar to strengthen the rakes. 
"And the teeth are hickory, too." 

The Congressman changed the subject. 

South of the Rake Shop, at the junction of Jerusalem Road and the 
main Otis-Lee road, is TINKER'S, another old Tyringham institution. 
For the past ninety years the only store in town, it is still going strong 
even though it is "Tinker's" now only by force of habit. Tyringham 
may be off the main roads, but it is no backwoods village, nor is 
Tinker's of today the old-fashioned emporium where Mark Twain 
lounged and swapped yarns during the summer he spent on the Gilder 
estate. The kerosene lamps and the cracker barrel are gone; today 
the store has electric Hghts, and food trucks deliver "bakery" bread, 
"bakery" pies and cakes. The huge old-fashioned cheese, kept under 
a glass case so the cat wouldn't sleep on it, has been supplanted by 
tinfoil packages unadaptable for feline snoozing. The former pro- 
prietress of the store was postmistress and reporter for the "city paper 
up to Pittsfield," also the dispenser of news both official and unofficial. 
You could hear her at the telephone: 

202 The Berkjhire Hills 

"Yes, schools are closed today and tomorrow. Teachers' convention 
today. had his tonsils taken out at the hospital in Pittsfield, Satur- 
day. No, I don't. Think it's two 'm's in his last name. Yes, I'm sure 

of it. cut his foot with an axe and had the doctor. I'll let you 

know how bad it is after the doctor leaves. Yes, visiting from New 
York over the week-end. That's right . . . Oh, not all! Good-bye." 

To reach SANDISFIELD from Tyringham it is necessary to 
drive back to West Otis and take Mass 23 to Otis Center, swinging 
south to join with Mass 8 down through the Farmington River Valley. 

If you'd want to locate friends in Sandisfield, inquiries in Otis, the 
township just to the north, might go something like this: 

"I want to find Mr. So-and-So of Sandisfield." 

"That so?" the man from Otis would drawl. "Well, now, Sandis- 
field folks don't trade round here; they all go down into Connecticut, 
but if you ask the town clerk at New Boston — that's on this same 
road, just south — he may be able to help you out." 

"New Boston?" 

"Sure. That's a part of Sandisfield. There's a store with the post 
office in it. There's an inn there, too, 'n' a schoolhouse 'n' a church." 

And it seems there's a West New Boston too, having a postoffice 
and a town hall, and there's Mountville, with a post office and precious 
litde else, and Sandisfield Center. Anyone in South Sandisfield could 
easily be found, for there is only one building in the district, the 
post office, where lives the sole resident of the village. The search 
might encompass Upper or Lower Spectacle Pond, Silver Brook, 
Swamp Brook, Clam River, Buck Hill, Town Hill, or Roosterville, 
where so many cocks were raised in olden days that they were said 
to have "woke up" everybody for miles around in Berkshire. An Otis 
native could even track a man down in Skunk's Misery, a part of 
Sandisfield that many years ago was a stamping ground for this un- 
loved species of wild life. 

Between 1840 and 1870 Sandisfield was a prosperous industrial 
community. Cellar holes, lilac bushes, and an occasional broken mill- 
wheel dimly recall the fine houses and factories that stood there during 
the boom era. Sandisfield once had six taverns and six churches, nine 
doctors and nine cemeteries, and three lawyers. Its population sur- 
passed that of Pittsfield. When Pittsfield needed money for a Con- 

The Berkshires Invaded 203 

gregational church, Sandisfield made the loan, and when a railroad 
company surveyed a route through the Farmington River Valley, 
forty thousand dollars was promptly subscribed by the town's moneyed 
men for "the Road to Prosperity," as the promoters called it. The 
railroad embankment, visible for miles as you drive south along 
Mass 8, is all that ever materialized of the scheme. Sandisfield found 
itself "holding the bag" for twenty-six thousand dollars and bonded 
for thousands more. At last the State came to the rescue, refunding 
twenty-four thousand dollars to the stricken community. The tax rate 
mounted to meet the remaining debt and property values declined. 
Today the population of four hundred residents is no match for 
Pittsfield's fifty thousand. Of three surviving churches, one is the new 
Jewish synagogue in Montville, and the nine cemeteries are desolations 
of rank grass. The town's economic life now consists of some dairy 
farming, work on the ninety miles of dirt roads, sporadic woodcutting 
jobs, and "summer boarders." The summer business differs from that 
of other Berkshire communities in that it is monopolized by Jewish 
settlers from New York City who have, during the past thirty-five 
years, gradually taken over a part of Sandisfield. 

This trend began in 1902 as a back-to-the-land movement. Solomon 
Polloch, a New York tailor, migrated with thirty-five families. At first 
Sandisfield Yankees were inclined to resent the newcomers, who 
seemed none too well-informed on the matter of boundaries. Embar- 
rassing situations arose when Jewish farmers, acting in good faith, 
tilled Yankee fields and naively gathered fruit from the orchards of 
their neighbors. Both sides eventually realized that tolerance and 
understanding would mend the breach, and newcomers and natives 
now cooperate as neighbors must in an isolated rural community. 
Farming was rejected as too uncongenial and unremunerative, and 
at present livelihood comes principally from summer boarders and 
real-estate enterprises. 

The real agriculturists of the town are Russian Cossacks, west of 
Sandisfield Center. The thirty families of this closely-knit clique are 
conspicuous in winter by their tall, hairy Cossack hats, exotic sights 
on the dull New England landscape. Their small farms are well culti- 
vated, and they have litde contact with their neighbors. Most of them 
are naturalized citizens and eligible for work on the town roads, but 
instead of depending on this they sell their excess crops and dairy 

204 The Berkshire Hills 

products to the Jewish residents of West New Boston and Montville. 
As the Jews were instrumental in starting the Russian colony, the 
relationship between the two groups is extremely cordial. In recount- 
ing her personal odyssey, one Russian farmer's wife gives an insight 
into the resources of the Cossack settlement. 

Something of a personage in her native land, she came to America 
and in Hartford married a Russian employed at a New Haven type- 
writer factory. When her husband became so ill that country air was 
prescribed as the only cure, a member of the Sandisfield Jewish 
colony employed him as a handyman, later giving him an old farm- 
house. The Russians tore down the house, cut the wood for a new 
dwelling, had it sawed, and built the house with their own hands, 
selling the antique molding and fireplaces of the old structure to get 
money for food over the winter. 

"We had hard time, but now we have nice home, and when my 
son and daughter finish high school, maybe things get better. My son 
go to high school in Lee. He walks to Montville four miles to take 
school bus to Lee. Sometime in winter, the snow is up to his hips. Now 
we got fine house, fine barn. We grow corn, potatoes, cabbage, beets 
enough for winter. We butcher pig each fall. Smoke hams and shoul- 
der and pickle in brine the rest. We very happy now. We work hard 
but it worth it." 

Within the past few years, because of the opening of the State 
Forest, a change has taken place in Sandisfield. The Civilian Con- 
servation Corps has improved the road and made accessible miles of 
forest, a number of stocked streams, and trails for skiing and snow- 
shoeing. New Boston, for half a century one of the main stopping- 
places on the Hartford-Albany Turnpike, has also felt the stimulus 
of tourist trade: houses are being restored as summer homes, and 
the old tavern has been modernized to accommodate summer visitors 
and winter sports enthusiasts. South of New Boston, on the left, is 
the steep pitch of SUICIDE HILL, formerly advertised as "America's 
largest Ski Hill." The hurricane and flood of 1938 destroyed the run. 

South of the ski hill, where the Farmington Valley broadens out, 
a granite crag known as HANGING MOUNTAIN rises almost per- 
pendicularly for some 450 feet above the river. In places the upper 
ledge overhangs the lower wall — hence its name. At the moimtain's 
base, a granite quarry has been operating for the last year, producing 

The Ber\shires Invaded 205 

a type of stone for monuments equal to the best from Barre, Vermont. 
The quarry employs thirty men at present, and hopes to expand. 

Sandisfield boasts of a prime story-teller in Jason Sears, the town 
clerk. One of his favorite tales concerns six young men who about 
twenty-five years ago went to New York from Sandisfield for a "big 
time." On a trip to Coney Island, they shot at the clay pigeons and 
then happened on a weight-lifting machine. One by one they tried 
their luck, each attracting more onlookers by setting himself a higher 
record. When the last man, Flanders Denslow, stepped up, he 
wrenched the machine from its fastenings. Torn between admiration 
and resentment, the proprietor of the concession could only say in 
awed tones, "Where the devil do you come from?" 

Mr. Sears also recalls the story of Lawyer Ephraim Judson, who 
was engaged by Eliakin Hull as counsel in a lawsuit in 1807. Hull's 
dispute was with Squire Canfield, who also sought Lawyer Judson's 
services. Unable to serve both parties, Judson recommended a colleague 
of his in Lenox and gave the Squire an introductory letter. Canfield 
was not a curious man, but as he rode toward Lenox he wondered 
about the letter in his pocket, thinking that Judson might have tipped 
ofif his friend on the matter of fees, or revealed how he thought the 
case might turn out. Finally, unable to stand the suspense any longer, 
he opened the letter and devoured the contents. After one glance, 
color bloomed in his face; he emitted a snort of rage, wheeled his 
horse about and returned to Sandisfield at top speed, where he reined 
up at his enemy's door. Without a word he handed the note to 
Mr. Hull, who read: 

"Two fat geese, you pluck one, I'll pluck the other." 
Frank Hawley, one of the old-time residents of the town, has a 
barn at Clam River, named from the "freshwater clams" that used 
to be washed down from Spectacle Pond. Between the house and the 
barn a mile below runs a narrow, rocky road along which Farmer 
Hawley is probably the only one to pass for months at a time. Seventy- 
five years ago this road was lined with prosperous houses and led 
to a group of mills situated on the banks of the stream. Mr. Hawley 
tells of the time when his road was the trunk highway between 
Hartford and Albany, and a stage stopped daily at a tavern to change 
horses. His father often recounted the thrills he experienced in his 

2o6 The Ber\shire Hills 

youth when the Ughted coach with its four horses rattled along the 
road into town at nightfall. 

Another accomplished raconteur is Frank Bryant of Otis, who 
tells of starting a trip a few years ago through the woods toward 
South Sandisfield, driving a team that carried a boiler for a portable 
sawmill. Until that time, he thought he knew the neighboring town 
pretty well, although he hadn't been "up in that neck of the woods" 
for years. "And do you know, I was lost for two days in that bush 
and never met a single person that could speak English." 

Sections of the "back country" give the stranger a cool welcome. 
On the fringe of the woods or beside a steep mountain trail, he is 
likely to encounter a bearded man with a shotgun or even a high- 
powered rifle, in which case he had better be on business he can 
explain or else keep right on going without asking questions. Sandis- 
field residents declare that these hillbUlies are not natives of the town, 
but are people who have moved in from somewhere and don't care 
to mingle. They may be fugitives from Esquire. 

Chapter XI 

OTIS — Mass 23, Mass 8, sett. 1735, alt. 1240, pop. 415. 

BECKET — Mass 8, US 20, sett. 1740, alt. 1207, pop. 723. 

WASHINGTON— Ofi Mass 8, sett. 1760, alt. 1437, pop. 252. 

Roads — Mass 8 goes north from Sandisfield to Otis and Beckft; Washing- 
ton is off this highway to the west on the old Pontoosac Turnfnl^e. 


This terse, self-confident introduction is painted across a weather- 
beaten old barn near the Blandford-Otis line. Otis, Becket, and Wash- 
ington have been invaded by the "moderns," and decline any longer 
to be considered old-fashioned mountain towns. Elaborate summer 
camps and fine estates have for their settings lakes, ponds, and wood- 
land stretches. A stream of motor traffic weaves its way along well-laid 
thoroughfares. But this is only half the picture. A more discerning 
portrait of the towns would high-light remote farmhouses, old red 
barns, and tiny settlements of white houses under tall trees. Dense 
forestland encroaches on field and farm almost as it did when the 
pioneers first came. In Otis, Becket, and Washington, the eighteenth 
century still is a visual background for the twentieth. 

A century ago these were prosperous communities with tanneries, 
woodenware factories, and small sawmills, run by waterwheels on 
swift hillside streams. With the years the little industries, too far off 
the beaten path, faltered and failed; the forests which had seemed so 
vast were exhausted; and the prosperity of the towns waned. 

Only within recent years have State highways and summer people 
brought quickening new forces into play. To the nimble-witted natives, 
strangers have meant a new source of income and a brisk, fresh way 
of looking at things. Residents of these towns now consider the culti- 
vation of summer business their chief pursuit. Descendants of old-time 


2o8 The Ber\shire Hills 

Yankees, most of them have lost none of the ingenuity usually asso- 
ciated with the stock. Otis, Becket, and Washington people well 
demonstrate that once they "get the hang" of city ways they can out- 
citify city folks. Old houses have been painted and spruced up for 
"paying guests"; highway tea rooms and rustic gasoline stations use 
modern wiles to arrest traffic at their doors. From neat roadside stands 
farmers oiler vegetables, chickens, homemade jams, jellies, and friendly 
aphorisms. Cabin colonies for tourists have been erected in wayside 
fields and groves. The Civilian Conservation Corps pushes into the 
forests, fells decayed trees and sets out new ones, builds roads, beauti- 
fies picnic grounds, and clears sites for camps. Otis, Becket, and Wash- 
ington not only acquiesce in modern ways; they even lend a hand 
in establishing them. 

Not all the residents of these towns, to be sure, have accepted 
the change with equanimity; there remains a small group of firm 
rejecters, "sot in their ways," who will have nothing to do with new- 
fangled notions. The advent of speeding cars and girls in halters and 
shorts has not been a total loss even to this faction, for they have 
gained an interesting topic to declaim about. Perhaps one of the "sot" 
ones painted the sign on the barn, but more likely it was a canny 
farmer seeking to ensnare you for a day, a week, or a lifetime in 
"God's country." He knows that summer people bear perhaps more 
than their share of the tax burden in these towns and provide a 
market for farm produce. Anyhow, advertising brings business, and 
though the sign on the barn is not exacdy glaring with neon lights, 
it is freshly painted every year. Any town bragging that it has the 
attractions of Paradise is bound to get attention. 

OTIS is a composite of two older settlements, Loudon, which at 
its incorporation in 1773 took the name of Lord Loudon, Commander- 
in-Chief of the American forces in the French and Indian War of 
1756, and Bethlehem, incorporated in 1789. On June 13, 1810, by 
consent of the General Court, the inhabitants changed the name to 
Otis in honor of Harrison G. Otis, Speaker of the Massachusetts 
House of Representatives. 

From the 1830's to the 1870's, Otis was a growing place, with 
sawmills and grist mills and tanneries. Forges in North Otis and 
Cold Spring turned out pig iron that was hauled all the way to 









Where Past and Present Meet 209 

Great Barrington to be made into car wheels. A "right pert" furniture 
shop in Otis Center made bedsteads, washstands, even coffins. For 
over 130 years, fine handmade wooden rakes were produced in the 
OLD RED RAKE SHOP on the Farmington River. Today not one 
of these industries survives, and even the Old Rake Shop, bowing 
to competition from larger centers, has become a roadside tea house. 
Lumbering and poultry raising remain the chief all-year-round occu- 
pations of Otis people, though it's work on the roads and the summer 
trade which really keep the town going. 

The zest of Otis for novel ways and manners has even been 
extended to embrace the only nudist camp in the Berkshires. The 
NUDIST COLONY was opened in Otis in 1933 by Burgoyne Trail 
Associates, and offers most of the sports and normal recreational faciU- 
ties of a regular summer camp. They advocate a healthy outdoor life 
with good food, pleasant companionship, and instruction in games, 
sports, and calisthenics — all based on meticulous observance of the 
nudist creed: 

We believe in the essential wholesomeness of the human body and of 
all nature. We regard the body neither as an object of shame nor as a 
subject for levity or erotic exploitation. Any attitude or behavior incon- 
sistent with this view is contrary to the whole spirit of the Associates and 
has no place among us. 

Cautiously questioned as to what the natives of Otis thought 
about the nudists, one thin-lipped, straight-backed spinster gave her 
opinion: "Fine up-and-comin' people they are. They let us alone and 
mind their own 'p's' and 'q's,' which is more than you can say for 
lots of folks. If they want to set in the sun as God made 'em, and 
pay for the privilege, it isn't any of my affair. That's the way I figure 
it." Another native proved more enigmatic. "Yes, sir," said he, "over 
in them woods yonder, about a ten-minute walk from here, they go 
naked and it don't bother them a mite. Set around on logs 'n' rocks 
as unconcerned as though they had their pants on — ^but they ain't! 
. . . Excuse me mister, I've got to go to the store for some bread." 

Nothing about prim Otis marks it as a town that would tolerate, 
let alone welcome, a nudist colony. A cluster of houses, two old 
churches, the schoolhouse, the Town Hall, a dance hall, a garage, 
and the general store — that is Otis Center, the civic heart of the town. 

210 The Berkshire Hills 

The houses are of many designs and in diverse conditions of repair, 
from well-kept late eighteenth-century dwellings to weather-beaten 
structures of no particular period or mode. Some crowd close to the 
narrow highway; others are set far back behind shaggy lawns. The 
stream of traffic constantly rolling past during the tourist season has 
small effect on the external placidity of the village. A Uttle chap 
saunters by, deep in a small boy's thoughts. Along the dusty edges 
of the highways, a bewhiskered farmer, bright suspenders over check- 
ered shirt, drives his slow-gaited horse. A housewife in fresh 
gingham dress hangs her washing on lines strung behind old-fashioned 
flower gardens. It has been this way for years. 

The most unusual structure in the center is ST. PAUL'S EPIS- 
COPAL CHURCH, on the shelf of land above the junction of the 
two main highways, Mass 23 and Mass 8. Founded in 1828 by Squire 
Lester Filley, for years a prominent resident of Otis, it is a trim little 
building, with a squat belfry and long windows made up of 1092 
panes of wavy, diamond-shaped glass. The three most visible sides of 
the church are painted white, but red lead paint, cheaper than white, 
was good enough for the back. "Why waste good white paint on 
places no one ever sees.?" asks the thrifty "Berkshire Borner." St. Paul's 
is unique in that the church officers are all women, and all but one 
are unmarried. They are referred to quite nonchalantly and apparently 
without disparagement to their status or authority as the "Old Maids." 

Next door to St. Paul's stands SQUIRE FILLEY'S HOUSE, a red 
brick homestead built in 1800. The Squire, a brilliant attorney and 
ardent Episcopalian, founded not only the church in his home town 
but also St. George's Episcopal Church in Lee. Members of the Corn- 
wall family, occupants of the house for many years, have kept it in 
a good state of preservation. One room is decorated with scenes from 
Italy — the Colosseum in Rome, views of the Mediterranean, and the 
Carnival in Venice — all in full color on an imported wallpaper almost 
150 years old. The house is not officially open to the public, but those 
interested are usually permitted to go through. 

Across the road from Squire Filley's is the CONGREGATIONAL 
CHURCH, somewhat larger than St. Paul's. Beside the church is the 
combination Town Hall, Grange Hall and Schoolhouse. Just beyond 
stands the Otis Firemen's Dance Hall, where natives and summer 

Where Vast and Present Meet 2ii 

people gather of an evening for "old-time dancing" under the auspices 
of the Volunteer Firemen's Association and the town Grange. 

The OTIS PUBLIC LIBRARY, on Mass 23 just beyond the center 
of town, is a ramshackle old building trembling into ruin. Oil lamps 
and a new square cast-iron chunk stove provide it with light and heat. 
A standing offer of a modern building to house the library has been 
made, provided the town will supply the land, but nothing has been 
done about the offer, since the selection of a site has proved to be 
too knotty a problem. 

Mass 23, which winds through Otis from Monterey to Blandford, 
follows the route of the "GREAT ROAD," one of the historic high- 
ways in the Berkshires. An Indian path through the wilderness existed 
here long before the coming of the first white men. In 1676 Major 
John Talcott and members of the Connecticut Militia used the road 
when in pursuit of a band of Narragansett Indians fleeing from West- 
field to the Great Ford on the banks of the Housatonic River. The 
Otis section of the "Great Road" is called the Knox Trail; it was built 
in 1759 by General Jeffrey Amherst, British Commander-in-Chief of 
the North American forces. New settlers heading for southern Berk- 
shire found this the best route up the Farmington River from Con- 
necticut and Rhode Island, As villages were established, the path 
became the "Great Road from Boston to Albany," a tie that bound 
the older settlements to the frontier. 

Over this road. Continental troops commanded by General Henry 
Knox brought the fifty-five cannon that saved the day at Dorchester 
Heights in 1776. Sleighs pulled by 124 pairs of oxen drew the heavy 
artillery through the drifts of January snow on the narrow, twisting 
forest road. The wind was sharp and the cold bit through the shabby 
coats of the soldiers. It was grueling labor for man and beast, every 
step a victory over snow, wind, and fatigue. The little band trudged 
up so steep a summit that it seemed to General Knox they "might 
almost have seen all the mountains of the earth." Daylight had faded 
when they halted at the Old Inn in Otis, where a greeting of warmth 
and cheer, a round of flip or toddy, and a mug of New England rum 
awaited them. They were weary, but they were conquerors on a march 
of triumph. The rafters of the Old Inn must have rung with the 
strains — 

212 The Berhjhire Hills 

Fath'r and I went down to camp, 

Along with .Captain Goodin', 
And there we saw the men and boys, 

As thick as hasty puddin'. 

Yankee Doodle, keep it up, 

Yankee Doodle dandy. 
Mind the music and the step. 

And with the girls be handy. 

The British had made up this song to poke fun at the Yankee rustics 
whom they thought they could "lick in a trice," but they abandoned 
the tune when they found that "Yankee Doodle," far from angering 
the uncouth farmers, sent them into gales of merriment. 

A year later, another band of soldiers marched along the same 
"Great Road." These were part of General Burgoyne's army of Hes- 
sians and British, plodding eastward after the grim defeat at Saratoga, 
prisoners of the Yankees. Like the Colonials, the redcoats had marched 
miles through snow, wind, and cold, but the Colonials were victors 
marching through their homeland, while Burgoyne's men were ene- 
mies in a foreign country. Dragging themselves wearily up the last 
long hill, they too stopped for the night at the Old Inn, but this 
group of slow-moving, heartsick men was far different from the 
merry host of Colonials; there was no singing or laughter. It was 
lucky for both Englishmen and Germans that they did not know of 
the long march ahead of them before they reached Springfield, for 
some were destined to die along the way in the snow and sleet and 

Not the least of those who have since traveled the Great Road 
was "Jubilee" Jim Fiske, king of Berkshire peddlers. In 1835 he sent 
out through the Berkshires twenty-five outfits, peddling his goods 
from door to door. Otis remembers "Jubilee" Jim, not so much for 
his great wealth and power, as for his famous Paisley shawls. The 
Paisley shawl technique, as practised by Fiske, was a worthy fore- 
runner of twentiety-century advertising methods. Jim, or one of his 
partners, would go ahead of the peddler's wagon to a prospective 
town, seek out a woman of local prestige, and courteously offer her 
a shawl as a gift. The glib presentation speech usually ended some- 
thing like this: "If I might suggest it, your friends, no doubt, would 
be pleased to see you wearing such a beautiful shawl to church next 

Where Past and Present Meet 213 

Sunday." With that seed of vanity planted in fertile soil, the peddler 
would go blithely on to the next village. 

Nine times out of ten, the favored lady would mince down the 
church aisle the following Sunday with the Paisley shawl draped 
around her shoulders. The effect on the feminine congregation was 

" 'Lead us not into temptation.' Good heavens, where did she get 
chat shawl? Land! If I take that silver dollar I saved from last birth- 
day, and the quarter for the heathen in the rosewood box — ^'for Thine 
is the kingdom and the power, Amen.' " 

Otis likes to remember "Jubilee Jim" as the shrewd, suave peddler, 
rather than as the wealthy and famous Jim Fiske who later departed 
from Berkshire, acquired the Erie Railroad, beat down the power of 
his rival Jay Gould, and behind the scenes of State and Federal poli- 
tics, pulled wires manipulating officials like puppets. 

One of Fiske's associates on his treks around Berkshire was Volney 
Haskell, descendant of the prominent Haskell family of Otis, who 
traced their ancestry back to three brothers said to have sailed from 
England to America in a skiff with leather sails. Upon being dis- 
charged from his duties in the army at the time of the Revolution, 
one of them, Philip, bought a barrel of brandy with money received 
for his military services, traded the beverage for a piece of land in 
Otis, and established his home there. 

Among other characters who have helped to make life interesting 
in Otis down through the years was Professor Alfred Hazard, inventor 
of a "perpetual motion" machine that might have startled the world, 
had it not worked so well that it flew to pieces and could never be 
put together again. The professor's plan for developing electricity 
from water power in Otis went so far that poles were set up along 
the main street for the electric lights which were to illuminate the 
town. His scheme failed and the only illumination that ever shone 
from the tops of the poles came from oil lanterns hung there one 
night by pranksters. 

Today Otis is famous not so much for its old-time characters as 
for a lively modern maestro, Sammy Spring. Sammy is the kind of 
old-time fiddler octogenarians of our day might never have expected 
to see or hear again this side of Jordan. He began his career fiddling 
at dances in the neighboring towns of Berkshire, and since then has 

214 ^^^ Berkshire Hills 

played at fashionable resorts in Massachusetts and Connecticut, over 
the Phillips Lord radio program, at the estates of leading Berkshire 
socialites, at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, and before 
Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. 
Though he may play for the Four Hundred, Sammy is still a Berk- 
shire farmer, who has no intention of ever permanendy leaving the 
hills and streams of his native Otis. 

Hunters and fishermen find these same hills and streams a sports- 
man's delight, where deer and small game abound and good fishing 
is taken pretty much for granted. One of the largest bodies of water 
in Berkshire County is OTIS RESERVOIR (Mass 23 at East Otis). 
Bass, pickerel, white and yellow perch, pike, and bullheads abound 
in all the streams of the town. During the trout season, when the 
dozen miles of public fishing ground along the Farmington River 
are open, Otis is the angler's Eden. Springtime sees the natives and 
people from all parts of the district going out with pails, bags, and 
tubs for the "sucker run." The fish are speared and sometimes caught 
by hand; those not immediately fried and eaten are either canned 
or put in brine for use during the winter. 

Despite its quiet exterior there have been at times rumblings of a 
spirit of revolt in Otis; in 1924, for instance, when the road superin- 
tendent failed to be reappointed. The people in East Otis where he 
had lived were enraged. The disappointed office-holder had held the 
job for several years, and his father before him for half a lifetime. 
It almost seemed as if the roads would go to rack and ruin if this 
family were not in charge of construction and repair. East Otis people 
claimed that they were not getting their share of good roads, and, 
anyway, the whole business of the ousting seemed just a plot to deprive 
them of road money. 

They were righteously indignant, for the one occupation which 
survives all depressions in the small Berkshire villages is road work. 
Regardless of bad financial conditions, citizens sidetrack other appro- 
priations to continue voting "to raise and appropriate the sum of 

dollars for Chapter 81 highways," " — for Chapter 90," " dollars for 

bridge work," and " for snow removal." 

Local politics center largely around road work, since the selectmen 
who are the "town fathers" appoint the road superintendent, subject 
to approval by the State Department of Public Works. This, the 

Where Past and Present Meet 215 

highest salaried job in town, naturally is the most coveted. Every year 
the selectmen receive innumerable applications — from veteran road 
bosses down to those unable to distinguish a "shoulder" from a "fire 
broom." The town fathers also determine who shall work on the 
roads and for what length of time. Consequently a man votes for the 
selectman who, he thinks, will appoint the road boss who will give 
him the most work. 

As time draws near for the appointment of the road boss, the 
whole town gets excited. If he is a novice in the field, will "Pubhc 
Works" accept him } Will they find out that he drinks ? Will someone 
slyly defame his character.'' Will the selectmen appoint the man they 
appeared to favor before election, or will they turn traitor and choose 
someone else? The selectmen also have many an uneasy moment, 
for, regardless of how great a monarch one may be in a small town, 
even the most overbearing villager stands in awe of "Public Works." 
If the selectmen insist upon appointing a superintendent of whom 
the State Department does not approve, it may mean a complete loss 
of state funds for the town. Usually a choice is amicably decided upon. 

The position of road boss is not without honor. Previously a mere 
citizen, one of the crowd, suddenly he becomes THE BOSS, the 
ruler of ninety per cent of the men in town and particularly of his 
enemies, who are now forced to work for him. He is boss even of the 
selectmen and other important town officials, and he has control of 
several thousand dollars. He strides along demanding attention, a note 
of recently acquired authority in his voice. Before many weeks, how- 
ever, a haggard, worry-worn look creeps into his eyes. The selectmen 
hire, but only the superintendent has the inaUenable right to fire. This 
means responsibility, for the road workers are usually heads of the 
largest families and survivals of the most indebted, rather than the 
fittest. References, ability, and experience count for litde. The work 
is so divided that married men receive two days' work for each single 
man's one. The superintendent must do a good job or he is in danger 
of losing his appointment, yet the townspeople must be fed, clothed, 
and be enabled to pay taxes and purchase bare necessities. In hard 
times it is either road work or welfare. The townspeople look with 
disfavor on a road boss who sends men "back to the welfare." Natu- 
rally, the boss's right to fire is litde exercised. 

The first day of road work is almost like a class reunion, for 

2i6 The Berkshire Hills 

many who live in one remote part of town haven't seen those who 
live in other parts for several months. They swap hard-luck stories, 
local gossip, opinions on current events, hints on farming, and the 
latest jokes. Tired of months of worry, meager meals, threadbare cloth- 
ing, and large bills, they view a pick and shovel almost with pleasure 
and anticipation. What are the backbreaking experiences of former 
years? Eight hours' work means four dollars pay. 

The first road work to be done in the spring is patching improved, 
tar-surfaced main highways. This work begins immediately after the 
first frost is out of the ground, usually around the middle of April or 
the first of May, and lasts only a week or two. 

Road improvement, called "Chapter 8i work," starts shortly after 
the patching is completed, usually around the middle of May. The first 
operation is scraping the road with a large scraper to remove sod from 
ditches and shoulders. A second gang follows the first and throws the 
sod on the banks; a third unit cleans out waterways and ditches with 
shovels and removes stones the scraper missed. Still another group 
replaces rotten and rusty culverts with new ones. Brush along the 
roadside is cut and gravel dumped to fill the mudholes. Any money 
left over is used to widen sections made dangerous by washouts and 

"Chapter 90 work," done usually in August, is entirely devoted 
to building new roads under state supervision. It is paid for by the 
joint funds of state, county, and town. First a state survey is made, 
then the roadbed is smoothed out and covered with a foot of stone 
fill, which is topped by a layer of poor gravel and then by a layer of 
good-grade gravel. Culverts are placed wherever necessary for drain- 
age. The road "shoulders" (dirt embankments three to five feet wide 
between the ditches and roadbed) are "dressed," smoothed, and 

"Chapter 221" calls for resurfacing improved main roads. A tar 
truck, with spreader attached, drives slowly along the highway, drip- 
ping hot tar; men follow behind to dust the tar with sand. Snow work 
includes erecting snow fences and plowing out roads. In some places, 
the job is done entirely by the town; in others, the town hires large 
state plows to keep the main highway open. 

Improved methods of performing road operations, the mistakes 
recent road bosses have made, the need for more and larger road 

Where Past and Present Meet 217 

appropriations, who the next road boss will be — these are the main 
subjects of conversation not only in Otis but in all Berkshire small 
towns during the winter months. 

A story that illustrates the spirit of Otis was told by a former city 
resident who had lived in the town for only a year. At first not quite 
sure how to deal with his new country neighbors, he soon was to 
find out. A chimney fire began to burn inside the inner wall of his 
dining room. Smoke poured through the joints in the woodwork, 
billowing out into the room. He was confused, for apartment dwellers 
rarely have to cope with such situations. His first thought was to rush 
at once to the doors and windows and fling them open. Before he 
made another move, however, there came a knock at the door, and in 
walked the next-door neighbor. 

"Havin' some trouble, eh ? Fetch me your axe and we'll fix it up." 
Axe in hand, friend neighbor began chopping the plaster around the 
pipe hole to expose the smouldering framework. 

"Fetch me a bucket of water," he ordered, and then proceeded to 
douse the wall thoroughly. 

When the fire was out, the Otis neighbor departed without a fare- 
well. In a few minutes he was back with a small bag of plaster, a roll 
of wallpaper, and some chicken wire. He tacked wire over the hole, 
and laid on plaster. With a curt "I'll be back later to paper it over," 
he was gone again. 

That evening he came back and announced, "Papered this house 
myself. Got this wallpaper from Montgomery Ward, lucky I saved 
some, ain't it?" 

In ten minutes the paper was on and he was ready to leave. Asked 
how much the bill was, he gave the city fellow a look of scorn and 
snapped, "Not a cent. Can't a man be neighborly if he wants to.''" 
With that he slammed the door and departed. 

Somewhat stunned by the encounter, the newcomer resolved to be 
on the lookout for a chance somehow to repay the favor. Considerable 
window-watching in the direction of the next-door house was finally 
rewarded one winter day when he saw his neighbor trying in vain 
to get his car started. Immediately the city man got out his own car, 
drove into the next yard, and hooked up a tow line. Not a word was 
said. After the car was going, the city man unhooked the ropes and 
silently drove away. The following day the Otis native drove into the 

2i8 The Berkjhire Hills 

next yard and came to the door. "How much do I owe you?" was 
his sharp question. 

"Not a cent," was the reply; "can't a man be neighborly if he 
wants to?" 

"Guess so," said the Otis man with a slow smile, and went off. 
And as the ex-city dweller tells it — "Now we were even, and I had 
learned a lesson I never knew in the city." 

The scenery of BECKET is much like that of its southern neigh- 
bor, Otis. In the early nineteenth century the Hoosac Range, separat- 
ing the Connecticut Valley from the Housatonic, was considered too 
steep for travel; the only road from the east to Becket was from 
Blandford through Otis. Not until the twentieth century did the 
high-flung road over the Hoosacs, the famous JACOB'S LADDER, 
become the direct way from Springfield to Pittsfield. 

The Ladder joins Mass 8 at West Becket, where an old stagecoach 
tavern keeps company with an abandoned school and a tiny hillside 
cemetery. From this point Mass 8 and US 20 merge to go over the 
Ladder. JACOB'S DREAM is a little settlement two miles west; 
during the summer months Ted Shawn's colony of male dancers give 
public performances near here on Fridays. You will swing up to a 
height of 2,100 feet. From this elevation a TOWER overlooks the 
widespread panorama of the Berkshires to the south and east. A few 
hundred yards below this spot is JACOB'S WELL, a spring whose 
purity has attracted a roadside stand and a tourist shop. 

About 1 80 1 Johnny Appleseed, whose passionate interest in planting 
apple orchards has been woven into our folklore, is said to have 
trudged the old Walker Brook trail to the topmost point of the Ladder. 
Today people still stop here, as Johnny Appleseed did, to view the 
beauty of the landscape. 

The highway continues east down the side of Becket Mountain, 
making its way toward BONNY RIGG FOUR CORNERS, a well- 
known stopping place for stagecoaches in the first half of the nine- 
teenth century, now but a crossroads. Mass 8 here turns away again 
from US 20 to run north to Becket and Becket Center. 

Several hamlets make up the town of Becket: West Becket, Char- 
coal City, Union Mill (also known as Bancroft), and North Becket. 
WEST BECKET was prosperous from 1800 to 1840. The old tavern, 

Where Vast and Present Meet 219 

now a private home, is the soHtary relic of that era. CHARCOAL 
CITY, dotted with forges and sawmills during the same period, today 
is a mere name. UNION MILL is partly in Hampden County, but 
the paper mill that bears its name is in Becket. 

BECKET CENTER is a mile from the Ladder. From 1740, when 
it was settled, to the 1840's this village thrived. Now the tiny one-story 
TIONAL (1780), a plain white structure, and a white farmhouse are 
all the sightseer need stop for. A boulder on the sidehill opposite the 
church was marked in 1936 to commemorate the building of the first 
meetinghouse, 1762-1764. The present church has hanging in its belfry 
an old bell thought to be one of Paul Revere's. Copper utensils were 
donated by residents of the community to be melted into the bell; but 
on its arrival in town a crack was detected. Back to Boston for recast- 
ing went the bell, along with a hundred silver dollars and a committee 
to make sure that the silver was really added to the metal to give the 
bell a silvery tone. Behind the church the OLD CEMETERY, chained 
and padlocked as if to hint that Berkshire's past is Berkshire's own, 
has its headstones all facing the setting sun. Stone walls surround the 
little plot, straight and plumb as when the farmers set them up 
long ago. 

During times of war in the colonies there was much traffic over 
the old Blandford road that passes through the village center. With 
Burgoyne's captive army went a young Scotsman, David Cairn Cross. 
At Chester Hill he fell in love with Nancy Mulholland of Chester and 
married her. After the wedding he joined the Continental Army and 
today his saber, powder horn, and flintlock pistol, are cherished treas- 
ures of the McCormick family, descendants of Nancy and David. 

The road to Becket from Becket Center winds through thickly 
wooded countryside and passes the north end of CENTER POND, 
encircled by summer camps. About two miles beyond, a dirt road on 
the left leads to YOKUM POND and the Becket section of October 
Mountain State Forest. The pond was named for the Indian Chief 
Yokun (sometimes spelled Yokum), once a mighty land-owner in 
Becket. Despite his real-estate activities and the wealth which must 
have been his, he is believed to have drowned himself in the waters 
of the pond. A mound off the shore is pointed out as his grave. 

The village of BECKET is the largest settlement in the town, and 

220 The Berkshire Hills 

through it pass trains of the Boston and Albany Railroad, after 
making the hard climb from Chester over the top of the Hoosac 
Range. Often "pusher engines" are needed to get the cars over the 
range. In 1927, when the Ballou Reservoir burst its earthen bank and 
poured a twenty-five-foot wall of water down the narrow valley, the 
railroad embankment was destroyed, roadways were ruined, and the 
settlement was nearly wiped out. The town's principal industry, a 
silk mill, was swept away; houses and shops floated downstream with 
the flotsam and the debris. This disaster marked the end of Becket's 
era of industrialism. Since then, save for Ballou's basket factory and a 
gristmill, the town's shops and mills have either closed down or been 

In the early nineteenth century, when stone and wood were the 
basic materials for the town's enterprise, there were sawmills and 
gristmills and quarries in both the western and northern parts of the 
town. Two or three mills for turning bowls were in operation in "Dish 
Hollow," the present site of the village of Becket. In North Becket, 
at the same period, there were two woodworking shops where fur- 
niture was made from curly or bird's-eye maple. From two small tan- 
neries in 1800 grew an extensive business, which at one time tanned 
fifty thousand sides of upper leather a year. Hemlock bark, once 
plentiful around the village, was essential to this work. Unwisely, the 
wanton cutting of this species of timber and the failure to plant new 
trees exhausted the supply. Claflin, one of the tannery owners, mean- 
time had become governor of the state and an academy in Becket, 
now defunct, had been named in his honor. In 1883, when tanning 
was no longer profitable, the Claflin factory became a silk mill. This 
prospered and a new building went up. The flood of 1927 completely 
destroyed the mill, then operated by an Illinois company. 

Long before this, towns with better locations and more generous 
sources of raw materials began to push Becket out of the industrial 
picture. Villagers say there is still enough blue granite in the town 
to pave a road around the world, but, paradoxically enough, all the 
local curbstones are made of Quincy granite, carted up from tide- 
water to Becket in the hills. Granite quarries operate today, and the 
industry is still of local importance. Copper and emery have been 
vainly sought in the neighborhood. 

The sawmills, tanneries, quarries, and other industries that once 

Where Past and Present Meet 221 

flourished in Becket were ordinary — nothing exotic, glamorous, or at 
all exciting about them. But today the little town has an industry, occu- 
pation, and art, that is, to say the least, a bit queer. 

"Unique? Wa-al now, I dunno 'bout that. But we hev got a lady 
here in town who raises rabbits," a native will drawl if questioned 
about the matter. "Yes, sir, regular business o' raising 'em." 

"I suppose she sells them to the local butcher," may be the indif- 
ferent murmur to prop the conversation. "Importing rabbits when the 
woods are full of them! Now, if it were the hunting season . . ." 

"Landsakes! You dun't reckon she raises 'em for butchering, do 
you? Them bunnies is jest like pets, jest like pets, I'm a-tellin' you, 
stranger. Combed and brushed and put t' bed like babies ev'ry night." 

The traveler is on his way again, but he turns for a parting glance. 
The native cups his hands to shout better. "You'd better go see this 
woman. She spins them bunnies o' hern, stranger. Yes, siree, she puts 
them bunnies on a spinnin'-wheel 'n spins 'em!" 

A visit to Miss Lucille Griffith's Colonial house in Becket bears 
out all the native said, for these Angora bunnies are truly pampered. 
The business end of this home industry easily warrants any ex- 
penditure of care on behalf of the creatures which supply the deli- 
cately fine wool that is put on spinning-wheels and spun. This occupa- 
tion, now very much alive because of the demand initiated in Holly- 
wood for angora sweaters and boleros, is one of the most unusual of 
all the small home industries scattered through Berkshire. 

WASHINGTON is Becket's neighbor on the northwest. Two 
reservoirs within the village limits, Ashley Lake and Farnham Reser- 
voir, supply the city of Pittsfield with drinking water. OCTOBER 
MOUNTAIN STATE FOREST, reached from the Washington 
town hall by a road going west, is the largest reservation in Massa- 
chusetts. Its 14,189 acres of high land are covered with spruce, hem- 
lock and hard-wood forests, and twelve hundred acres are given over 
for a wild-life sanctuary. 

The principal highway, Mass 8, traverses only a corner of the town 
and entirely avoids the town center, high up on the summit of Wash- 
ington Mountain. Mass 8 from Becket to Hinsdale runs past Wash- 
ington Station, the highest point on the railroad between Boston and 
Albany, but if you want to see the Town Hall, turn left in Becket 

222 The Berkshire Hills 

and go up the steep road behind the white church and the schoolhouse. 
About two-tenths of a mile up the hill is a junction with a trail that 
leads across a bridge and part way up a steep bank. Here BECKET 
FALLS plunge twenty-five feet into a grotesquely worn rock channel. 

The road then swings up through thick woods to emerge on a 
plateau from which there is a broad view of the distant Hoosacs, the 
little white church in Peru standing out against the sky far off on 
the horizon. Almost at the summit of the mountain perches ST. 
ANDREW'S CHAPEL (1899), die gift of George F. Crane, wealthy 
New Yorker who spent his summers in Washington for many years. 
The church was dedicated to the Reverend Andrew Oliver, a former 
minister of the town, and his wife, parents of Mrs. Crane. The Manor 
House, now the property of the Episcopalian Diocese of Massachusetts, 
stands nearby. Girls from the Friendly Society of New York are 
frequendy sent here on vacation. Most of the Baptist or Congrega- 
tionalist residents of Washington have gladly attended St. Andrew's 
since their own churches were destroyed by fire. The Gothic structure, 
made of field stone, was built on the site of the home of the first 
minister who setded in Washington. 

On the very top of Washington Mountain stands the windswept 
OLD TOWN HALL, once the civic center of the town. Now only 
an old farmhouse keeps it neighbor, and the State Forest encroaches 
on every side. When Washington was in the golden age of its history, 
about a hundred years ago, the road from Becket over Washington 
Mountain was part of the old Pontoosac Turnpike. The route had 
been surveyed in 1819 but the pike was not ready for use till 1830. 
It ran through Chester to Pittsfield, providing daily stage travel till 
1837. Toll gates were set up to pay the cost of the road. Since Wash- 
ington Center was one of the stops for rest and fresh horses, the 
town was then quite a place. It had a thousand inhabitants, and, 
even in pre-Civil War days, farmers among its hills are said to have 
been so prosperous that men came from other towns to borrow money. 
Great flocks of sheep and herds of cattle roamed over the hillsides, 
charcoal burners sent up their smoke in the woods, and farmers culti- 
vated the sloping fields. Down near the railroad, "The City" hummed 
with the activity of a dozen sawmills and tanneries. 

Washington had its origin in a tract of land called Tukonick by 
the Indians. One Watson, a Sheffield farmer, owned it up to 1758, 

Where Past and Present Meet 223 

when two groups of new settlers from Connecticut purchased the 
land and named it Greenock. Disputes with the Indians led to a peti- 
tion in 1762 to grant the proprietors a township. On April 12, 1777, 
the town was incorporated as Washington. 

In 1855, the peak of activity in the town, most of the people made 
their livelihood either from sawmills, some of which were run by 
Shakers, or by raising catde on the available pasture land. The West- 
ern Railroad, opened in 1841, which meant hope for some Berkshire 
communities, ruined the local farmers by making western beef cheaper 
than native. The timber lands were soon entirely wasted and people 
began to look for a better living elsewhere. In the 1870's about six 
hundred were still earning their living hard in Washington; by 1900 
only 377; and today most of the 252 residents of Washington either 
work on the roads or "hire out" to summer people. 

The vacation colony was begun in 1896 by a Lenox summer resi- 
dent, William C. Whitney, Secretary of the Navy under President 
Cleveland. He purchased about eleven thousand acres of land within 
the town and began a game preserve on an area about five by seven 
miles. Whitney spent twenty thousand dollars in building a fine house 
and stables, and enclosed a hundred acres to be stocked with moose, 
elk, deer, and buffalo. A herd of eight Wyoming buffalo and five 
bulls were imported, among them Apache, the king of the herd, said 
to have been the largest buffalo in the world. Other areas were devoted 
to angora sheep, to goats, and to Belgian hares; an aviary was stocked 
with some two thousand pheasants. Whitney's pay roll of twenty-five 
hundred dollars a month sustained fifty-five game keepers, workmen, 
and servants. It was by grace of the taxes he paid for so many years 
that the town was able to have good schools and to be free from debt. 

After the death of his wife Mr. Whitney abandoned the preserve, 
though it had cost him two hundred thousand dollars or more. The 
animals were shipped to the New York Zoo, a few moose and Virginia 
deer escaping into the Berkshire hills. Two years ago, according to 
several reliable witnesses, a moose was seen in central New Marl- 
borough. For some years the estate was a lonely, untenanted place, 
until a group of Berkshire men pledged twenty-five thousand dollars 
to enable the state to purchase the area. In 1915 the property, in addi- 
tion to sections of forest land in Lenox and Lee, was taken over by 
the state and opened to the public as October Mountain State Forest. 

224 The Berkjhire Hills 

The part of the forest nearest Lenox is known as SCHERMERHORN 
GORGE after a wealthy Lenox resident of that name who donated 
the property to the state. Groves with fireplaces, tables for picnicking, 
and facilities for camping are found at regular intervals throughout 
the Forest. In the Gorge at an elevation of i,8oo feet is FELTON 
LAKE, a little body of water surrounded by thick woods. Along 
the shores of the lake, log cabins, a bathing beach, and additional 
campsites are now being developed. TORY GLEN, running through 
the forest, is so named because of a belief that it was a refuge for 
Tories during the Revolution. ROARING BROOK rushes for a mile 
and a half through this ravine before it joins the Housatonic River. 

Two miles east of the Town Hall is the OLD RED SCHOOL- 
HOUSE which Edwin D. Morgan, financier and politician, attended 
when he was a Berkshire boy. Morgan was born in Washington in 
1811 but moved with his parents to Windsor, Connecticut, in 1822. 
In later years he was employed in Hartford by two uncles in the 
mercantile trade. One shrewd speculation followed another, until 
Edwin Morgan eventually accumulated a fortune, became governor 
of New York for two terms, and twice declined the post of Secretary 
of the Treasury of the United States. 

Though it has a similar name, Washington is not to be confused 
with Mount Washington, in the southwestern corner of the Berk- 
shires. The more easterly village proudly claims to be the first com- 
munity ever named after the Father of Our Country, and his likeness 
is on the face of the town seal. The claim is not valid, however, for 
Washington, North Carolina, takes precedence by a number of years, 
and New Hampshire's Washington predates the Massachusetts town 
by one year. 

Like all Berkshire towns, Washington has a story or two worth 
telling. One concerns the Reverend Braman Ayres, possibly the last 
of the old-time "A-h-men!" Methodist ministers who preached here, 
a man who mixed wit and ingenuity with religion to the disparage- 
ment of neither. One fine spring day he paid a visit to his brother's 
home. Driving past, he sniffed the smell of his sister-in-law's tasty 
johnny-cake, and quite designedly he reined his horse into his brother's 
yard at high noon. Invited to eat dinner with the family, the minister 
seated himself at the table, apparently oblivious of the dismay on his 
sister-in-law's face. 

D Oil 



^r ' y 









































Where Vast and Present Meet 225 

"Johnny-cake indeed!" she probably muttered to herself as she 
deftly slid the cake out of the oven. "If Brother Ayers eats one piece, 
he'll eat two; and if She eats two, he'll certainly eat three; and if he 
eats three — " 

Silently imploring the Lord to remember her virtues and be as 
lenient as possible with her transgression, she shoved the fragrant 
yellow cake out of sight. In its place, wheat bread was set in promi- 
nence on the red tablecloth, while the parson's hostess reminded him, 
in somewhat of a hurry, "Brother, it's time to say grace." 

"Oh Lord," began the Reverend, sniffing for direction, "bless this 
food prepared for our use, and bless the johnny-cake" — ^sniffing 
triumphantly — "under the stove! A-h-men!" 

Chapter XII 

HINSDALE — Mass 8 and 143, sett. 1763, alt. 1431, pop. 1144. 
D ALTON — Mass 8 and 9, sett. 1755, alt. 1199, pop. 4282. 
Roads — Mass 8 goes north from Bec\et to Hinsdale and Dalton. 

HINSDALE is a hybrid of the mill town and the backwoods hamlet. 
A century ago its five woolen mills, cotton factory, tannery, two bed- 
stead factories, and sawmills rivaled the industrial prospect of its 
northwestern neighbor, Dalton. 

The first settlers of Hinsdale in 1763 were the three Miller brothers 
from Middlebury, who were followed by other "Connecticut Yankees" 
and by settlers from Rhode Island and the Connecticut River Valley. 
Hinsdale, originally a district of Peru or Partridgefield, became a 
separate township in 1804. It was named after the Reverend Theodore 
Hinsdale, who in 1795 made a start at farming on the Ashuelot 
Equivalent (now Dalton) after retiring from his home church in 
Windsor, Connecticut. He soon became involved in the religious 
affairs of the community, and took part in the direction of the parish 
for the rest of his life. 

No litde difficulty attended the erection of the church Mr. Hinsdale 
served. The raising began with an auction of the pews, and it would 
seem that some of the congregation became inebriated for the occasion, 
since bids reached staggering sums before the auction was over. Many 
of the bidders awoke the next morning to learn that they had prom- 
ised to pay more than they could scrape together in a lifetime. Some 
fled the community, leaving heavy obligations upon those who re- 
mained, and during the long winter evenings townspeople spun tow 
and linen by the light of pine knots in an effort to free the parish 
from debt. A few conscientious individuals parted with their last cow 
to meet their pledges; one luckless fellow was taxed for over a hun- 
dred dollars, although he owned little more than a side saddle and 
some tools. 


Paper, and the Smell of Pines 227 

The church was built in 1799 on the "schoolhouse hill," opposite 
the present Shady Villa on Maple Street. As the center of town shifted 
with the coming of the railroad, churchgoers wanted to be nearer 
Main Street. In 1857 the church was moved bodily off its foundation 
to its present site on the village green, near the junction of Mass 8 and 
Mass 143. Although its interior has been completely remodeled, the 
edifice remains a plain, square white building without decoration, 
typical of the sedate New England meetinghouse of more than a cen- 
tury ago. 

The auction is an episode in its history Hinsdale would prefer to 
forget, but an earlier anecdote concerning post-rider Israel Bissell is 
one they treasure. Bissell spread the news of the Battle of Lexington 
and Concord through the countryside of Massachusetts and Connecti- 
cut to New York and Philadelphia. It is said that he traveled for four 
days and six hours, leaving the post station in Watertown almost as 
soon as the encounter began. From 10 o'clock on the morning of 
April 19 until 5 o'clock on the morning of the 23rd, he stopped only 
to change horses and permit the copying of the "Call to Arms" he 
carried. The proclamation is now treasured in the archives of the His- 
torical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Some years after this stirring ride, Bissell settled in Hinsdale, where 
he spent the rest of his life. His grave in the old section of the Maple 
Street Cemetery is marked by a simple inscription. 

The Plunkett Woolen Mills were the most prosperous factories ever 
operated in Hinsdale. The first one was built about 1831 by Charles H. 
Plunkett, son of Patrick, who came from Ireland to settle in Lenox in 
1795. Charles Plunkett was known as the "Squire" and for years 
dominated Hinsdale. In i860 his mills employed 250 hands, a majority 
of the town's population. He owned over half the houses and operated 
the Plunkett Mills Store, where his employees were obliged to trade. 
Workers were paid annually, and when the day of settlement came, 
often found that after the store accounts and the house rent were 
deducted, they had no salary in cash at all. If they had overtraded, they 
had to work overtime to square the account. Little real money changed 
hands in Hinsdale in those days, and consequently there was a low 
labor turnover. Men in debt to their employer hadn't the funds to 
pack up and leave. 

The successive owners of the mills for sixty-two years, always 

228 The Berkshire Hills 

Plunketts, had another scheme for making employees behave. They 
encouraged workers to invest whatever money they had in the com- 
pany, rather than deposit it in the banks of Pittsfield. In the '90's, the 
Plunketts failed and sold out to the Hinsdale Brothers, who already 
owned one woolen mill. Many employees who had worked all their 
lives in the mills and had put their little savings back into them found 
their old age unprovided for; they received less than forty cents on 
the dollar of the money they had invested. 

The limestone deposits which supplied the three lime kilns in the 
early days proved thin, the forests were rapidly exhausted, and the 
textile factories found competition with the larger towns of Pittsfield 
and North Adams a losing batde. In 1880, when the mills were pros- 
pering, Hinsdale's population numbered 1,500; today, without a single 
factory, it has shrunk to 1,100. The town has been able to check further 
decline only because every year increasing numbers of workers from 
the Pittsfield and Dalton factories arrive with their families to settle in 
this suburban area. 

The Irish who came to Hinsdale with the Western Railroad in 
1842 remained to work in the textile mills. The English acted as wool- 
sorters or superintendents, but the heavy work was performed by the 
Irish, or by French-Canadians, lured by factory wages during the 
'6o's and '70's. In time, the Irish rose to positions of importance in the 
mill, and manual labor was done by Poles and Germans. When the 
mills were abandoned, the English and Scotch departed to other textile 
factory towns near at hand, but the Poles and a number of the French- 
Canadians turned to the land, truck gardening and dairy farming. 
The largest groups in the town at present are the descendants of 
Yankees and Irish-Americans. 

Far out beyond the Maple Street Cemetery, near the Peru town 
line, is LAKE ASHMERE, christened by no less a personage than 
William Cullen Bryant, who stopped one day to admire the native 
ash trees lining its shores. The lake is almost completely surrounded 
by summer homes and camps. Because of its clear air and high alti- 
tude, the town is an ideal health resort, and at one time three private 
tuberculosis sanitariums were located here. These closed upon the 
advent of public institutions for treatment of the disease, but seven 
summer camps have recently been established in the vicinity. Although 
widely different in character and background, the camps are dedi- 


Paper, and the Smell of Pines 229 

cated to the common purpose of providing healthy outdoor life for 
young people. 

At the turn of the century, when Hinsdale was gaining prominence 
as a health resort, stories began to circulate about a rich vein of gold 
reputedly discovered in the nearby hills. The Hinsdale Mining and 
Milling Company was organized by Mr. and Mrs. George Page, a 
mysterious and apparently wealthy couple who displayed gold sup- 
posedly refined from local ore. This flourish impressed the towns- 
people, as did an announcement that the gold assayed $35 to the 
pound. From 1899 to the mid-winter of 1901, the mine was "worked," 
largely by means of issuing stock certificates. Mr. Page frequently 
found it necessary to issue public statements in promotion of his gold 
mine, once going so far as to publish a lengthy manifesto upbraiding 
certain doubting Thomases for their lack of faith. When subjected to 
detailed questioning, he and his lady invariably quoted the "world- 
famous authorities," "California Jack" O'Brien and "Professor" Sut- 
phen; but by 1901, not even the experienced Pages could keep up the 
ruse any longer. They abandoned their mine of "fool's gold" and lit 
out of town, no doubt congratulating themselves upon their narrow 
-escape from a necktie party. 

The town has a much keener memory of its native son, R. H. 
White, who left it for Boston in 1859 and founded the large depart- 
ment store that still bears his name. Nancy Hinsdale went from the 
town in 1830 to undertake the management of the school that became 
Emma Willard School at Troy, New York. Of those who traveled 
further afield the most prominent was Francis E. Warren. 

Warren was born here in 1844. During the Civil War he left the 
town as a soldier of the 49th Regiment. The experience of army years 
made him too restless for the life of a Berkshire farmer, and by 1868 
he had established himself as a sheep-rancher in Wyoming. With the 
settlement of the western territory, his political power grew, keeping 
pace with his wool business. He was governor of the territory and 
also senator from the state for over forty years. Wyoming benefited by 
his efforts to obtain proper irrigation facilities, and he became known 
as the "Father of Reclamation." From his long interest in the wool 
trade as president of the National Woolgrowers Association and as 
rancher, he was called the "patriarch of sheepmen." Warren was the 


The BerJ{shire Hills 

father-in-law of John J. Pershing, until 1924 Chief of Staff of the 
Armies of the United States. 

Of living residents, the best-known is Thomas A. Frissell, one of 
Hinsdale's oldest citizens and the leading apostle of temperance in 
western Massachusetts since the days of Governor Briggs. Born in 
Peru in 1851, he moved to Hinsdale when he was twenty-five. He 
conducted the general store and the express office until his son took 
over for him a few years ago. Mr. Frissell (who swears he never puffed 
a cigar, pipe, or cigarette and doesn't know the taste of liquor) became 
one of the leading lights of the Massachusetts Total Abstinence 
Society. He steadfastly supported the national Prohibition ticket from 
1884 to 1920 and has been the Prohibition Party candidate for state 
treasurer, senator, representative, and county commissioner. Of the 
many stories about his hatred of alcoholic beverages, one deals with 
his treatment of a barrel of beer which arrived for some one living 
only a short distance from the store. Mr. Frissell, as the express agent, 
disdained to touch the barrel but started kicking it to its destination. 
The barrel broke and he had to buy the man another. For many years 
after he started his store he refused even to sell cigarettes or tobacco. 
Although now retired from business, Mr. Frissell appears at the store 
every day, takes entire charge of the several houses he owns, is active 
in the Hinsdale Congregational Church, and is largely credited with 
the success of "Old Home Sunday" services in Peru every August. His 
interest in temperance hasn't lessened with the years. Regularly he 
writes letters to the Berkshire Eagle on the subject. 

The manufacture of army cloth created a temporary boom in 
Hinsdale during the World War, but since the 1920's all manufactur- 
ing has been abandoned. The town is now without any industries and 
dependent for livelihood upon farming, the Christmas-tree business, 
the summer-tourist trade, and employment afforded by neighboring 
communities. At present Hinsdale is making a strong bid for summer 
business. Two or three small inns have been opened and tourist signs 
have been nailed up. 

Once the center of diversified industries, Hinsdale now concentrates 
almost entirely upon the exportation of Christmas trees, ferns, and 
greenery. The pioneer in this business was Louis B. Brague, a native 
of the town, who started a modest Christmas-tree export enterprise 
eighty years ago, doing all the work himself. About one hundred 

Paper, and the Smell of Pines 231 

men and women, most of them independent, are now occupied each 
fall and winter cutting, trimming, and tying evergreen trees for 
shipment to city markets. In prosperous times an average of thirty 
thousand trees, thousands of cartons of spruce and balsam boughs, and 
millions of delicate ferns are shipped annually to Boston, New York, 
Chicago, Philadelphia, and even as far south as New Orleans. 

Overhead expenses are relatively small, for almost everyone who 
owns land in the hill towns has acres of spruce and balsam growth, 
taxable whether the trees are felled or left standing. Practically every 
man in hilltop Berkshire enters the business, either selling his trees 
directly to wholesalers like the Brague Company or transporting them 
to market himself. 

Early in the summer foresighted cutters are busy making arrange- 
ments to get trees from neighboring woodlots. Widows, spinsters, 
non-resident landowners, and even men with steady jobs sell trees "on 
the stump" at ten or fifteen cents apiece. Although nearly every acre of 
spruce and balsam is thinned out annually, the woodlot is never com- 
pletely cut. The huge trees that throw seed cones are left standing. 

The spruce, balsam, and hemlock boughs are used to protect hardy 
plants during the cold weather, to cover graves made in winter before 
the sod can be filled in, and for decorative purposes. Boughs cut in 
three- or four-foot lengths are baled in presses made especially for that 
purpose and tied with a tar rope. Picking ferns is a tedious, back- 
breaking job. The ferns are picked in the early fall in bunches of 
twenty-five and tied with string. As they must be kept cool to preserve 
their life, they are packed in sphagnum moss and wet newspapers, 
before shipment to wholesale florist supply houses in the cities. Wreath 
making is an allied small-town industry, largely carried on by women. 

The Christmas-tree busines is a gamble. Retailers at the last minute 
find themselves in need of an extra carload of trees and have to pay 
almost any price to meet an order. "Pawing over the bunch," as they 
call it, costs money in hilltop Berkshire, and anyone who wishes to 
select one tree from a hundred or more pays for the privilege. 

The hUl farmers used to peddle their trees on the sidewalks of big 
cities directly to customers. In the early days of his business, Louis 
Brague sold trees and evergreens in baskets on the streets of New 
York and Chicago. For years the corner of Lexington Avenue and 
Forty-seventh Street, New York, was headquarters for Brague Christ- 

232 The Berkshire Hills 

mas trees. The passage of laws prohibiting sidewalk displays without 
special permits has forced farmers and retailers who still go to the 
metropolis to rent the yard of a gas station or the entranceway of a 
store for a stand. 

The Yule season is a mad rush for even the most easy-going 
farmers. The children work as hard as their parents, nor is it uncom- 
mon to see women, muffled in men's work breeches, mackinaws, four- 
buckle overshoes, with their heads wrapped in woolen scarfs, helping 
to tie up trees in the farmyards. 

Ice storms stop the work entirely, for the shape and beauty of a 
tree cannot easily be determined if it is coated with ice. Nor can trees 
be dragged to the roadside or loaded on trucks with the branches 
ready to break under a load of icicles. Selection of the trees to be cut 
depends upon good judgment, experience, and an eye for beauty. 
Perfect trees are rare. Lopsided, scrawny ones are passed by. Occasion- 
ally, however, by cutting and trimming here and there, a tree can be 
fixed up to present a fair appearance. 

The Christmas-tree trade of the larger dealers has of late declined, 
because of the encroachment of the small hilltop farmer who has gone 
into the business. Berkshire farmers are sure that this source of income 
will regain its footing, and Berkshire will be saved by Santa Claus. 

On the banks of the Housatonic, rimmed by hills, lies the industrial 
town of D ALTON. The original proprietors were forced to do some 
swapping of land before they obtained the Dalton grant known as the 
"Ashuelot Equivalent." Colonel Oliver Partridge, Berkshire's first real 
estate operator, and a company of associates were awarded a large tract 
of land on the lower Ashuelot River in New Hampshire, but since 
the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was as 
yet undecided, the territory was claimed by both colonies. The British 
Privy Council setded the dispute in 1740 by granting the land to New 
Hampshire, which gave Massachusetts no alternative but to ofFer 
Colonel Partridge and his group their choice of an equal allotment 
from the unappropriated lands in the western part of the colony. 
Selecting the upland valley of the Housatonic as it expands eastward, 
they gave it a literal name, the Ashuelot Equivalent. In 1784, the town 
was incorporated and renamed Dalton after Tristram Dalton, speaker 
of the State House of Representatives. 

Paper, and the Smell of Pines 233 

Among the proprietors of Ashuelot Equivalent was Colonel Israel 
Williams, a cousin of the founder of Williams College. Colonel Wil- 
liams was appointed a "Mandamus Councillor" by the Royal Governor 
of the colony in 1774, hardly a propitious time to be singled out for 
any Tory honors. Of all appointments, the office of Mandamus Coun- 
cillor was the most odious. Williams was especially unfortunate in that 
the town of Hatfield where he lived was a hotbed of colonial sym- 
pathy. A mob of patriots lost no time in abducting him and shutting 
him up in the schoolhouse, where they proceeded to stuff the chimney 
and light pitch fires. After a brief but trying inquisitorial session, the 
Colonel signed a confession repudiating his loyalty to the King. His 
change of heart inspired the couplet in John Trumbull's poem, "Mc- 
Fingal" : 

Have you made Murray less big 

Or smoked old Williams to a Whig? 

But evidently "Old Williams" regarded a confession under duress 
as no confession at all, for a few months later Hatfield learned that he 
had recommended "drastic measures" against the rebellious Colonists. 
Once more a mob seized him, and again he was locked up, this time 
in a regulation jail. The townspeople soon wearied of having so 
persistent a Tory in their midst, and banished him to Ashuelot Equiva- 
lent, where the Pittsfield Committee of Safety and Inspection could 
keep a watchful eye on his activities. 

William Williams, the Colonel's son, left Hatfield of his own accord 
to join his father in the Equivalent, and became one of the leading 
men of the town. Year after year he was elected to the chief offices of 
the local government; yet in 1792 because of Tory sympathies he was 
among the fifty Dalton citizens accused of treason and banished from 
the community. The act of banishment was a farce, for as sheriff and 
selectman it became his duty to warn himself and his friends out of 
town. Needless to say, not one of the fifty ever stirred from his home 
in Dalton. 

In its early years Dalton had troubles other than the Tories. One 
scandal not easily laid to rest was the prolonged quarrel over the loca- 
tion of the meetinghouse. The structure was only half completed when 
each of the several settlements in the town decided that the church 
should have been situated within its precincts. Unseemly controversy 

234 The Ber\shire Hills 

raged despite an attempt by a neutral committee from Lanesborough 
to arbitrate. Its decision failed to satisfy any of the warring factions 
and was voted down. A second committee, made up of residents of 
Williamstown and Peru, was appointed to restore a sense of Christian 
amity to their stricken neighbors. This body took its responsibility 
very seriously, measuring the town off in every direction and estimat- 
ing down to a "T" just how far this corner was from that. The town 
was in great suspense until the final report was made — that the meet- 
inghouse should remain exactly where it then stood! The decision was 

Industrial Dalton is a community raised by hand, still accepting the 
system of benevolent paternalism that has persisted from the early 
nineteenth century. One fourth of the town's population of four thou- 
sand is employed in the paper and woolen mills. Skilled workers, most 
of them English, Irish, and Yankees, live in trim, modest houses along 
elm-shaded streets. The manors of officials in the paper and wool 
industries which control the town are flanked by formal gardens and 
velvety lawns, in neighborly proximity to the homes of employees. 
The two families who founded the paper industry founded town 
dynasties. Their descendants, to this day owners and executives of the 
mills, have a long tradition as townsfolk behind them. 

The Dalton "manufactory" for which its owners urged "due en- 
couragement" as a public duty was the first paper mill in that part of 
Massachusetts west of the Connecticut River, and the beginning of the 
rise of the Cranes as "fathers" of the community. 

Before Zenas Crane and his partners sent out their plea for domestic 
economy, Berkshire housewives had looked upon the odds and ends 
of the family wardrobe as useless clutter. Until then, Hepzibah's old 
aprons. Father's shirts too ragged even for young Johnny's hand-me- 
downs, the tablecloths that wouldn't stand another patch, and Aunt 
Hannah's billowing "unmentionables" were good only for scrubbing 
floors or braiding rugs. The paper makers, the newspaper editors, and 
the post-riders taught the thrifty ladies of Berkshire that their rags 
could be as valuable as coin of the country. While they delivered the 
mail and relayed the latest news, Berkshire post-riders preached the 
gospel of rag saving. 

The story began with a newspaper notice in the Pittsfield Sun for 
February 8, 1801. 

Paper, and the Smell of Pines 2-35 

Americans I 

Encourage your own Mfinufa^orles, 

end they will Improve, 

Ladies, fave your RAGS. 

AS the Subfcribers have it 
in contemplation to ere£l a PA- 
PER-MILL in Dallon, the enfuing 
fpring ; and the buflnefs being very ben- 
eficial to the community at large, they 
flatter themfelvcs that they fliall meet with 
due encouragement. And that every "wo- 
man, who has the ^ood of her country, 
and the intereft of her own family at 
heart, will patronize them, bv favirig her 
rags, and fending them to tneir Imnu- 
la8ory, or to the nearefl Storekeeper— 
for which the Subfcribers will give a gen« 
erous price. 



Worcrpr, Feb. 8, aSoi. 

Shaker rags were the choicest, because they were always clean and 
strong in texture. Homemade linen was an especially desirable fabric, 
but unfortunately for the paper makers, this material wore like iron. 
It could be handed down through a whole family without getting 
threadbare, and Grandmother's nightgowns made good panties and 
petticoats for the children. 

Although the collected rags, variegated in color and fabric, were 
sorted out in piles by tint and texture, in the early years bleaching was 
far from thorough. Newspapers of the day presented a diversity of 
hues, from a dingy gray-white to a dull blue, depending on the pre- 
dominant color of the rags used. If the sorting was carelessly done, 
paper came out streaked and shaded. Dyed rags made the cheaper 
kind of wrapping paper, and those tinted with indigo were saved for 
tobacco wrappers because the dye was thought to add a pleasant 

In 1777 the founder of the paper industry in Berkshire, Zenas 
Crane, was born in Canton, Massachusetts. His home was not far from 

236 The Berkshire Hills 

the Milton Mill, the first paper mill in the state, established in 1730. 
Crane's oldest brother was a partner in the Milton Mill and later estab- 
lished his own factory in Newton; and Zenas, before his arrival in 
Berkshire at the age of twenty-two, had spent several years in the 
paper mills of Newton and Worcester. His capital was modest but his 
experience was sufficient to start a business of his own in the untried 
territory of western Massachusetts. 

At the close of the eighteenth century Dalton was an agricultural 
town with a population nearing the thousand mark. Shrewd young 
Crane recognized that the community had all the assets essential to 
his purpose — abundant water power from the Housatonic River, and 
numerous hillside springs of the pure water necessary for cleansing 
rags and preparing pulp. Land was cheap, the surrounding country- 
side was sufficiently populated to provide an immediate supply of rags 
as well as a market for the finished product, and surplus paper could 
be easily transported across the Taconics to Albany, thirty miles away. 

Zenas Crane interested two partners in his proposal, and in the 
spring of 1801, true to the advertised "contemplation" of the asso- 
ciates, the paper mill was erected. So skeptical about the enterprise 
was Martin Chamberlain, from whom they purchased the land for 
the sum of $194, that he would not agree to the deed's final delivery 
until the "thing should be done" and operating successfully. The mill, 
a small two-story structure, had at first only one vat. Its daily output 
was 100 to 120 pounds of paper, all made by the slow hand process. 
This consisted of dipping a square frame covered with a wire screen 
into the vat of liquid pulp, and shaking down the pulp into a flat 
sheet. The water drained off through the screen. Sheets were made one 
at a time. 

The partners could figure their pay roll on their fingers. An 
engineer received three dollars weekly, and a vat man and a coucher 
(who did the actual work of making the paper) three and a half 
dollars. The lay boy, or general helper in the mill, was paid sixty 
cents; one man and two girls who handled the finished paper seventy- 
five cents each. All workers received board in addition to their wages. 
Even the proprietors were not overpaid. One became foreman at eight 
dollars a week and Zenas himself held the title of superintendent and 
general manager at a salary which, after several years, was nine dollars 

Paper, and the Smell of Pines 237 

The success of Crane's business after eight years induced competi- 
tion, and a second paper factory, later known as the Old Red Mill, 
was erected by David Carson, Joseph Chamberlain, and Henry Wis- 
wall. In the next few years, the Old Red Mill and Zenas Crane's little 
establishment changed hands several times, and in the end Zenas 
became owner of the second mill, while Carson acquired the original 
Crane property. By 1822 Zenas had bought out his partners and was 
the sole owner of the larger paper mill in Dalton. 

A third mill was built in 1824 by Thomas Carson, David's son. 
Year after year the wooden dams above his structure were washed 
away during the spring freshets. Carson commissioned a well-known 
engineer of the day to build a dam "that would stay." The natives, 
distrusting the ability of the "outsider," predicted the dam wouldn't 
last through the next spring. "I defy the Devil himself to wash it 
away!" shouted the engineer. His rash challenge made such a profound 
sensation in the town that both the dam and the mill were named 
"Defiance" from that day on. Not a badly chosen name, as it turned 
out, for the dam weathered the spring floods of forty years and was 
replaced only when a larger one became necessary. 

Until the '8o's, natural springs afforded sufficient water for the 
mills. The growing demand for paper finally made this water supply 
inadequate if the Dalton concerns were to expand. The use of surface 
water was too risky. Its cleanliness could never be assured, as even a 
slight summer shower polluted it with mud and silt, the heartbreak of 
every paper-mill man. Several attempts were made to provide new 
sources of water supply by drilling artesian wells. None was very 
successful until in 1884 Byron Weston, then owner of the Defiance 
Mill, determined to sink a well that would be deeper than any in the 
region. He was rewarded with a gusher that flowed at the rate of five 
hundred gallons a minute and on chemical analysis was found to be 
of exceptional purity. Clear artesian well water henceforth was a factor 
of first importance in the town's production of paper. 

In 1832 Zenas Crane replaced hand labor by the first paper-making 
machines and in 1835 cylinder dryers were added to his equipment. 
About four years later. Crane was one of the first in Massachusetts to 
use chloride of lime as a bleaching agent for removing dye from rags, 
and from that time on the production of pure white paper was pos- 

238 The Berkjhire Hills 

sible. The Dalton industry has continued to speciaUze in a high-grade 
product for which Hnen and cotton cuttings are the base. 

Crane & Co. originated the term "bond" as appHed to paper. 
The president of a New York banknote house ordered a new shipment 
of "bond paper," using the term Hterally for paper on which bank 
bonds might be printed. Zenas Marshall Crane, son of Zenas I, ever 
on the alert for new notions, adopted the term and ever since "bond" 
has been used to designate any hard-surfaced, long-fibered paper. 

Until the late i86o's, fashionable women in America favored sta- 
tionery imported from France and England, as the native product was 
considered only good enough for business purposes, not for polite 
correspondence. The imported note papers tinted in delicate blues, 
pinks, and lavenders were more to the feminine taste. Crane & Co. 
undertook to prove that homemade goods need not be inferior to 
foreign imports. In 1865 a mill was equipped with special machinery 
to manufacture note papers so seductive as to eliminate foreign rivals 
once and for all. By the 1870's they were marketing an average of five 
thousand pounds a year of their "Ladies' Paper." 

In 1847 the second Zenas Crane had developed a special paper for 
banknotes with linen threads cleverly incorporated in the sheet length- 
wise of the note; it was his plan to sell this at a high price to banks and 
commercial houses. After long controversy over patent and royalty 
rights with an English inventor, Crane & Co. in 1879 obtained an 
exclusive contract to furnish the United States Government with paper 
for its currency and securities. Except that one year the contract was 
divided, it has since been continuous. In 1938 the government was 
supplied with thirteen hundred tons of Crane's threaded paper, im- 
proved by changes in the color and character of the thread, but other- 
wise little different from Zenas Crane's first attempts of almost a hun- 
dred years ago. 

This paper is 25% domestic cotton and 75% linen, made from 
cuttings imported from England and Ireland. From 1879 to 1891 its 
distinctive feature was the colored silk threads running lengthwise, 
but thereafter until 1928 two lines of mixed blue and red cut silk 
threads occurred in each note. Since 1928, when the bills were reduced 
in size and a sturdier type of paper substituted, the silk fibers have 
been scattered throughout the bill instead of being arranged in lines. 
The Crane Mills supply more than forty countries with speciahzed 

Paper, and the Smell of Pines 239 

papers for their bond issues and currency. Although the Government 
Mill manufacturing this paper lies over the boundary line in Pittsfield, 
it is considered a part of the Dalton unit. An American flag flies over 
the mill and government employees guard the plant day and night to 
foil thieves and counterfeiters. 

The CRANE MUSEUM in Dalton exhibits an old account book 
originally belonging to the Milton Paper Mill where Stephen Crane, 
Zenas' oldest brother, worked. One entry of 1776 notes that thirteen 
reams of paper were sold to Paul Revere for ^26 to be used for 
"money paper." It is only one of numerous museum records and docu- 
ments tracing the development of the paper industry from the days of 
Zenas I to the present. 

The Museum, originally a wing of the Old Stone Mill built in 1844, 
is a small one-story building of native field stone set in the midst of 
green lawns and bright gardens on the bank of the Housatonic River, 
Opened to the public in October, 1930, it may be visited without charge 
each weekday afternoon, from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturdays and holidays 
excepted. To reach it, go west along Main Street (Mass 8 and 9) 
beyond the Community House. At the little square, turn left on South 
Street past the Crane & Co. office building and take the first left. 
Pioneer Street. At the foot of the hill in the yard of the Pioneer Mill 
is the Museum. 

The interior has been restored to resemble the Old Ship Church in 
Hingham, Massachusetts. The rough-hewn oak beams, old-fashioned 
chandeHers, many-paned windows, wide oak floor boards fastened 
with wooden dowels, and plain oak benches go far to reproduce the 
feeling, if not the exact appearance, of the Hingham Church. Glass 
cases ranged along the walls contain the exhibits. 

Dalton's one large woolen factory, the Sawyer-Regan Company, is 
the sole survivor of the period from 1820 to 1850, when as many as 
twelve small textile concerns operated in the town. The Rev. Isaiah 
Weston, founder of Dalton's second dynasty, established the factory in 
1814, but the ideal conditions for paper making, together with the 
evident prosperity of the paper-mill owners, turned his descendants 
away from textiles. The factory was sold, and has been operated inter- 
mittently ever since by a series of companies. Today it produces fine 
woolen cloth and employs approximately two hundred workers. 


240 The Berkshire Hills 

Naturally enough, Dalton's paper kings took a keen interest in the 
affairs of government. Among the Cranes, Zenas I served several terms 
in the State Legislature and on the Governor's Council; Zenas II 
became a State Senator, a member o£ the Council, and one of the 
leaders of the Republican party in Massachusetts, Winthrop Murray 
Crane, the most famous political figure of the family, was Governor 
of Massachusetts from 1900 to 1903 and a United States Senator from 
1904 to 1913. He is best remembered for his singular record in the 
Senate of never having delivered a speech or made a motion. Three 
times he refused a cabinet position. Of the Weston family, Byron 
Weston served as Lieutenant-Governor and other members held minor 
State positions. 

The two ruUng clans had a feud at one time. The eastern section 
of Dalton, known as the Center, was dominated by Weston interests, 
and the western or "Flat" area by the Cranes, Each was a business unit 
in itself. When in the '90's a drygoods merchant who had always con- 
ducted his business in one of Weston's blocks moved to the Crane fief, 
it is said the outraged Mr. Weston left no stone unturned until he had 
filled the vacancy. He offered his new tenant six months' free rent as 
an inducement, and considered that saving his prestige was cheap at 
the price. The story gives insight into a rivalry which may once have 
affected all phases of local life, but is now only an anecdote on the 
lips of the "oldest inhabitant." 

The paternal dynasts of the town are responsible for peculiarly 
sentimental bonds between employer and employee. The Cranes and 
Westons have lived in Dalton for so long that they have both status 
as honored residents and power as economic forces in the town. 
Profits for the company mean benefits for the community at large; of 
this principle the town has no doubt. A tradition of philanthropy has 
grown up in Dalton. The "dynasts" divert a portion of their wealth 
to public ends, and maintain an almost personal interest in every 
employee. Both the Crane and Weston companies had a private plan 
of old-age pensions and sick benefits prior to the Social Security Act, 
though there has never been any system of profit-sharing or employee 
management. Educational advancement, medical facilities, and condi- 
tions of housing are all responsibilities preempted by Dalton's indus- 

Paper, and the Smell of Pines 241 

In 1923 Senator Winthrop Murray Crane gave to Dalton a modern 
brick COMMUNITY HOUSE. Located in the center of town on 
Main Street (Mass 8 and 9), it has several community rooms, a gym- 
nasium, a swimming pool, bowling alleys, and sundry facilities for 
indoor recreation. Just west of the Community House is the combined 
PUBLIC LIBRARY and TOWN HALL, presented to the town by 
members of the Crane family in 1892. PINE GROVE PARK, another 
gift, is the center for outdoor activities; it lies off Main Street north of 
the Town Hall. 

Dalton is well known for the "Dalton Laboratory Plan," tried out 
as an experimental system of education. The plan preserves grouping 
by grades, although the pupils work at their own speed and may be 
quick in some subjects and slow in others without being dropped 
from their group. Classrooms are called "subject laboratories," and one 
or more rooms are assigned for every subject taught in the school. Free 
study time allows children to work at their own gait. The plan 
attempts to give students a sense of the interrelation of studies. If a 
child is working on a problem in English which involves carpentering, 
he is advised to adjourn to the carpentry shop for a while. 

First tried out in the Berkshire School for Crippled and Deformed 
Children, the plan is long since out of use in Dalton, although it has 
spread to other communities. By 1930 it was in efifect in over six 
hundred American towns. English "board schools" have been par- 
ticularly attracted by this form of progressive education, and in 
AustraUa, too, the "laboratory plan" has been popular. 

About three miles east of Dalton Center on Mass 9, a road branches 
off to the right towards the FALLS OF WAHCONAH BROOK, 
named after the chieftain's daughter who won her "brave" only after 
many trials in which the evil spirit played no small role. The memory 
of the story remains in the verse of Dalton's poetess: 

'Tis said that an Indian maiden 

Whose love was wooed and won, 

Against her father's wishes. 

By a hostile chieftain's son. 

Had her fortune told in this rushing tide 

That hurries down the mountain side. 

242 The Berkshire Hills 

So they called the Falls Wahconah, 

By the Indian maiden's name, 

And I love their picturesque beauty, 

Though they never reach to fame, 

For they lift the soul from the common clod 

To a broader sense of Nature's God. 

WIZARD'S GLEN (turn off Mass 9 at the junction of Mass 8 and 
9, into High Street and then Gulf Road) has a profusion of giant rocks 
like a huge, crumpled wall. Indian legend calls the pile the Devil's 
Altar Stone, and here medicine men and tribal wizards are supposed 
to have offered human sacrifice to Ho-bo-mo-ko, Spirit of Evil. 

Many years ago a local hunter named Chamberlain came to the 
Glen, carrying the carcass of a deer which he had killed. While he 
was dressing the animal, a terrific thunderstorm arose and Chamber- 
lain sought shelter under one of the great boulders, placing the deer's 
body under another. A vivid flash of lightning suddenly illuminated 
Satan and his Court. Every cranny in the rocky surroundings of the 
Glen held frightful specters. His Satanic Majesty, a terrifying picture, 
seemed to resemble the Indian of song and story, his rawboned visage 
painted in ghasdy fashion and blood-dripping scalps hanging in 
festoons from his body. The phantoms began a wild chant and dance 
as two of their number dragged a beautiful maiden, robed only in her 
long, black hair, toward the sacrificial altar. One of the guards placed 
her on the rock and the Wizard raised his hatchet to strike. The girl, 
catching sight of Chamberlain in his retreat, gave a piercing shriek of 
appeal, rousing him from his stupor of fascination. Whipping out his 
Bible, which he always carried with him, Chamberlain "pronounced 
the Great Name." With a crash of thunder, the entire scene vanished. 
Chamberlain, dazed and horrified, thought he must have been dream- 
ing. When he looked for his venison, it had disappeared. 

Chapter XIII 

PERU — Mass 143, sett. 1767, alt. 2295, pop. 151. 

WINDSOR — Mass 9, sett. 1767, alt. 1944, pop. 412. 

SAVOY — Mass 116, sett. 1777, alt. 1880, pop. 299. 

Roads — Peiu is best reached by Mass 14^ east from Hinsdale, Windsor by 
Mass 9 northeast from Dalton, and Savoy by Mass 116 southeast from 
Adams. Dirt roads connect the three towns, making it possible to go from 
Peru to Windsor and Savoy. 

Tucked in among the hills stand three dwindling towns — Peru, Wind- 
sor, and Savoy. The early Berkshire pioneers who built them hacked 
their way along the route now followed by the modern highway. 
Through virgin forests and over the tops of the Hoosac range, two 
thousand feet and more in altitude, they slashed a trail to the high 
peaks, and there they built meetinghouse and school and established 
their villages. 

Fear drove them up from the fertile valleys of the Housatonic and 
Hoosic Rivers, fear of fever that lurked in the mist creeping through 
the lowlands at night. No less compelling was their dread of the 
Indians, who could descend with terrifying suddenness on homes built 
in the shadow of the hills. On the mountaintops was the Land of 

In their own little way these tiny mountain towns were prosperous. 
The great forest shadowed their doorstep. Valuable timber was free 
for the taking. Sawmills sprang up beside brooks, and staunch houses 
were reared in the wilderness. Pioneers of the mountains forced 
obedience from an enemy whose weapons were crags and precipices, 
stiletto peaks, and an almost impenetrable armor of forest. The con- 
quered territory yielded them game and fish, soil rich in leaf mould, 
and pasturage for their cattle. 

As time passed and old superstitions died, new settlements grew 
up in the once-dreaded valleys. Without fear, settlers established manu- 


244 The Berkshire Hills 

facturing communities beside the swift streams whose energies could 
be harnessed to their will. Lowland industry drew upon the small 
towns back in the hills. Their population declined. 

It's a summer evening in one of these small towns out "in the 
sticks" of the Berkshires. A Thursday evening, to be exact, and the 
scene is the old Town Hall. There is an air of tense excitement, an 
atmosphere of hilarity, though right now the hall is quiet enough. 
The prim benches are set back close to the walls, the floor speckled 
over with cornmeal, or it may be wax, the windows swathed carefully 
with heavy brown paper — or perhaps a cleansing powder has been 
applied and not wiped away — and the flames of the kerosene bracket 
lamps sway crazily as they are caught by some current of air. 

Seven-thirty. A crowd arrives. Country swains and sweethearts 
dressed in clothes as up-to-date as those you see on city streets step 
jauntily into the room, pay their small bit at the door, and begin tap- 
ping their feet impatiently. 

Then comes the "orchestra." It may be a lone man with an 
accordion strapped around his neck, or it may be a banjo player and 
a fiddler. A wild clapping of hands, shouts, and stamping of feet greet 
the musicians and before they can settle to their tasks and get prop- 
erly tuned up, some self-appointed prompter leaps up on the platform 
and, loosening his collar with an experienced finger, booms in the 
voice of a street-fair fakir. 

"Fill up the floor, folks, fill up the floor! Come on, come on! Don't 
be bashful! Four more couples is all I need now! Three more couples! 
Two more! . . . How about you, young feller — you and that sweet 
little gal? . . . What, you're a stranger? Never went t' one of these 
square dance shindigs before? Well, don't be scairt, the folks '11 all. 
. . . Too late, there! Sets all full." 

The fiddle begins to squeak, the banjo starts strumming, and 
though the music hasn't the fine synchronism of a first-class jazz 
orchestra, to the ears of the shy little six-year-old who is being initiated 
into the charming intricacies of the "Virginia Reel," and to the old 
granny who is "promenading" for the rath time in her life, heavenly 
harps will sound no sweeter! Another old-fashioned country square 
dance is on out "in the sticks." It will last till well past dawn. 

The tunes played at these country dances are the old familiars: 

Where Old New England Lingers 245 

"Money Musk," "Pop Goes the Weasel," "Darling Nellie Gray," "Old 
Dan Tucker," and that priceless classic, "Turkey in the Straw" — 

Went out to milk and I didn't know how, 
I milked the goat instead of the cow. 

A monkey sittin' on a pile of straw, 
A-winkin' at his mother-in-law. 

And that grand, rollicking chorus: 

Turkey in the straw, 

Turkey in the hay, 
Roll 'em up and twist 'em up 

A high tuck-a-haw. 
And hit 'em up a tune called 

Turkey in the Straw! 

The "calls" to the dances, which are usually sung rather than 
shouted by the prompter, are extremely complicated to outsiders who 
may come to the Town Hall for the first time, expecting to be enter- 
tained by village crudities. These "foreign" delegates soon find that 
they themselves are the entertainment, unless they are quick steppers 
and even quicker thinkers. To be a proper participant and not an 
admiring spectator, a person must be up on such terms as "right and 
left your corners," "swing your partners" and "swing your corners," 
"chassez down the hall," "alimand your corner," "do-se-do your part- 
ner," "grand right and left," and "promenade her home." He must be 
an "old-timer" or the following jingle v^dll be Greek in his ears: 

Oh, the first two gents cross over and by that lady stand. 
The next two gents cross over and do it like a man. 
Salute your opposite partner and now salute your Jane. 
Swing your corner lady and promenade the same. 

According to unwritten law at these parties, a girl has to dance 
with whosoever presents himself for her favor, be he old, young, ugly, 
or handsome, with a springy step or a foot loaded with lead. For unless 
she wishes to sit forlornly as a wallflower the rest of the evening, she 
will know better than to refuse more than once. There's no formality 
among the dancers. There's no need for it. Sometimes a man has only 

246 The Berkshire Hills 

to wiggle his finger at a girl or to raise a careless eyebrow in her 
direction to signify that he would like to "promenade" with her. If 
she refuses — well, ten to one he won't ask her again, neither he nor 
any of his friends. It isn't that these country fellows are so easily dis- 
couraged; they just won't be bothered with a girl who's too choosy or 

"Come 'leven o'clock," refreshments are served and "right good 
'n' hungry" everyone is. Sandwiches and hot dogs, doughnuts, cake, or 
pie are the rule, with coffee and sweet cider to "wet folks' whistles." 
Sometimes the refreshments serve as admission tickets at the door, or 
again they may be donated or sold. The total gate receipts — whether 
from a straight admission price or from refreshments proceeds — often 
go direct to the orchestra. According as they are large or small, the 
dance will continue; music till the cock cows if the hall is crowded 
and plenty of change is loose in ready fingers. 

"Spooning" at these old-fashioned dances? There isn't time. No 
time for casual conversations. No time for anything but to sway and 
twirl and "promenade." Squealing fiddle, tinkling banjo, gasping 
accordion carry on triumphantly above the clapping, stamping, laugh- 
ing, and shouting — sometimes together, now and then in raucous dis- 

But in March the old Town Hall will see something far more 
exciting than an old-fashioned dance. Something exciting in a serious 
way and of such great import to the villagers that only people who 
have witnessed Town Meeting Day in an isolated Berkshire hill town 
can appreciate its significance. More often than not, the day is cold 
and blustery with the wind sweeping in small cyclones over the hills; 
the roads may be well-nigh impassable, for these hill towns can only 
aflord to keep their main road open for traffic in the wintertime. Some 
of the town's citizens may be "snowed in" — those who live some six 
to eight miles back from the center, in sections where fifteen- or 
twenty-foot drifts are not uncommon and nothing can be done about 
them until the spring thaw. 

Whether a voter is "snowed in" by the elements or "snowed under" 
by the weight of years, he usually manages to get to the Town Hall 
in PERU on the second Monday in March, the official Town Meeting 
Day. Not only will he be there personally, on snowshoes, in a sleigh, 
driving an old tin "Lizzie," or on his own two feet, but his wife. 

Where Old New England Lingers 247 

children, and grandchildren (if he has no one with whom to leave 
them), any relatives who are getting their winter board by "going the 
rounds" of their families, and possibly a pet dog or cat which can't be 
left at home alone — even a new baby — they'll all come with him. 

How the voters get to the Town Hall is immaterial, but come they 
must and will, even those citizens who spend the winter months in 
warmer climes but retain the right to vote as resident landowners. 
Strangers come from out-of-town to witness the fun — serious business 
to the townsmen — along with newspapermen on the trail of front- 
page news for their journals. Meanwhile, the ninety registered voters 
of the village prepare for a spirited session. Once again they are out to 
make political history. 

Although the highest-paid town officer is usually the tax collector, 
who receives about sixty-five dollars a year for his services, there is 
always a lively contest for each office — even for that of tree warden 
and field driver, for which no salary is paid. The greatest rivalry, 
however, occurs over the election of the selectmen, because they pick 
the road boss for the coming year. 

Major political parties don't come in for much attention on Town 
Meeting Day, for it's all a matter of "one side" and the "other side." 
Personal grievances and vague prejudices are usually the platforms 
adopted by the "sides." It doesn't take much to make a man change 
his opinion of things, either. Beneath the calm exterior of these seques- 
tered villages, dark political undercurrents are at work. Before the 
eventful day itself arrives, the ardent satellites of the leaders of the 
two factions are out along the backwoods roads trying to find out, if 
they can, just how the "land lays," and whether Old Jim has made up 
his mind to vote for So-and-So this year, or if that blank-blank shyster 
friend of his has persuaded him over to the "other side." When the 
power of eloquence fails to change a man's opinion, sometimes the 
gift of a pig or a good brood hen will do the trick. 

Assembled at the Town Hall, the voters take seats according to 
"sides," which may be a good thing, since frequently neighbors are 
not speaking to neighbors. Before the Moderator cracks down his old 
wooden mallet. State Troopers are on hand to relieve the tension if 
things get too "hot." Bitter controversies are ahead. Feuds which have 
been gathering animosity since last Town Meeting Day are ready to 

248 The Berkshire Hills 

Points of law are observed meticulously and the "Fireside Law 
Books" are much in evidence. Ask a "hill-towner" to recite a certain 
chapter of Fireside Law and he rolls it glibly off his tongue, letter 
perfect. If Fireside Law will not take care of a dispute (and frequendy 
it won't), Pittsfield lawyers are resorted to. Who has and who hasn't 
the voting privilege, needless to say, is of deep concern to the villagers. 
Why shouldn't it be, when officers are often elected by a margin of 
one or two votes? 

A few years ago, just two weeks before Town Meeting in Peru, 
one "side" found, to the extreme annoyance of its adherents, that no 
matter which way things were counted, their "side" would be beaten. 
They racked their brains to discover some way out. Finally one of the 
most lively-witted shouted, "I've got it — how about ridding out a few 
of the other-side voters? — Let's see, now, take 'bout half a dozen of 
'em out, 'twould upset their apple-cart, wouldn't it?" 

"What d' you mean?" another member spoke up, fearsomely, 
" — murder? I'm not doin' anything like that. T' commit murder's 
carry in' things too dog-goned fur!" 

"Murder nuthin'!" answered the spokesman disgustedly, "all we 
got t' do is t' prove that half a dozen of the other side ain't legal voters 
— you know, that they ain't registered fair 'n square-like." 

The very next day charges were brought against six members of 
the opposing faction, challenging their right to vote. That was only 
the beginning. In a short time, half the residents of the town were 
accused of having no legal right to exercise the franchise. On the day 
when the case came up before the district court in Pittsfield, almost 
the entire population of Peru was sitting in eager expectation in the 
Court House. But the confusion before the hearing was nothing to 
what followed when some of the leaders of the fight emerged with no 
clear conviction as to their legal residence, and one poor fellow found 
that he had no legal home at all. 

For nearly thirty years "Mayor" Frank G. Creamer, who ran the 
only store in Peru, was leader of one "side" in the town, vying with 
citizen James Bolger for first honors as chief functionary in the com- 
munity. "Mayor" Creamer was, without a doubt, one of the most 
remarkable characters in the history of these old New England hilltop 
villages. Throughout a busy political career he was elected town clerk 
and selectman twenty-five times, treasurer and tax collector nineteen 

Where Old New England Lingers 249 

times; and intermittently he held the offices of moderator, assessor, 
pound-keeper, fire and tree warden, library trustee, fence viewer, 
measurer of wood, bark, and lumber, and overseer of the poor. He was 
likewise road boss for a good many years, justice of the peace, post- 
master for twenty-eight years, auctioneer, noted horse-trader, real- 
estate dealer, storekeeper, and telephone "central." Whenever he found 
that the multiplicity of official duties weighed too heavily on his 
shoulders, Mrs. Creamer obligingly stepped forward and helped out 
with the burdens of office. Creamer's stove in the general store was the 
center of his strategy board of advisers; he has been reported confer- 
ring in the same locale with W. M. Crane when the latter was Senator 
from Massachusetts. 

In 1902, "Mayor" Creamer was chosen as Representative to the 
General Court of Massachusetts — one of the few Democrats to go 
from an overwhelmingly Republican district. In 1927 he went down to 
defeat before the combined onslaught of two of his opponents. Since 
that memorable day, town offices in Peru have been more equitably 
apportioned among the populace. 

People living in the "hills behind the hills" of the Berkshires are 
both "fair-weather Christians" and "fair-weather students." They go 
to church only from May to November and send their children to 
school from August to Christmas and from March to June; that is, if 
traveling will permit such a schedule. During the winter months both 
church and school are closed. 

The "little red schoolhouse" of Berkshire hill towns is generally a 
little white one, and it is every bit as quaint as the one in the poem: 

Still sits the schoolhouse on the hill, 
A ragged beggar sunning. 

The building has but one room and a fair-sized entrance hall where 
coats can be hung and wood stored. A litde heat is a necessity during 
nearly the whole of the school term, for the wind blows up cool in the 
hills of the Berkshires even in August or June. Children are of all 
ages and the grades run from the first through the eighth or ninth. 
The teacher must be able and patient if she is to "weather" the year 
and be a success. She must know how to build a fire in a wood stove 
that accommodates three-foot lengths, for there is not always a big 

250 The Ber\shire Hills 

boy living near enough to the school to help her out. She must know 
how to pump an organ and pitch a tune, bind a bruise, and teach a 
variety of subjects no one of which may occupy her for more than ten 
or fifteen minutes at a time. She must administer justice impartially, 
comfort and often hold on her lap during the later hours of the day 
some woebegone litde tike old enough to learn his A-B-C's, but not 
sufficiendy inured to the hardness of his seat to sit hours on end 
without relief. She must be physically strong, brave, gende, and a good 
disciplinarian. Above all, she must have a vast sense of humor. No 
easy job, being schoolmistress in a backwoods Berkshire town. 

Tourists and visitors, of course, are more or less of a trial to these 
country teachers. "They mean well enough," sighs the calm-eyed Berk- 
shire schoolmarm; "yes, they mean all right, but the children have 
such a lot of ground to cover in their studies in such a short time, and 
they're dreadfully shy before strangers. It's not that we don't want to 
be friendly; it's just that schooling means so much to these farm chil- 
dren. You see, they work twice as hard as city children for their 

"Many of them have heavy chores to do before they start for school 
— milking, feeding livestock, chopping wood, washing and rinsing 
milkpans. Then they have the long ride to school in the none too 
comfortable school 'buggy,' rattling over back country roads. They eat 
a cold lunch at noon, which, you'll admit, isn't as stimulating as a hot 
one; then the ride home again, more chores in the evening, and study- 
ing on top of that! — that is, there's studying for those who expect to 
go to high school in some larger town." 

The windswept village of Peru, highest town in Massachusetts, is 
on the very top of the Washington Mountain Range, 2,295 ^^^^ above 
sea level. Its only paved road is the stretch of state highway. Mass 143, 
which passes through some of the most beautiful country in Berkshire 
on its way to Hinsdale. This was once part of the stage Une from 
Boston to Albany, and the coaches stopped at Peru to rest horses and 
refresh passengers. 

Peru Center now consists of a small white church, an even smaller 
white TOWN HALL, a schoolhouse with "Peru Center School" 
painted in large letters over the door, and five houses, two of which 
have no tenant. Along the narrow dirt roads out from the Center, 

Where Old New England Lingers 251 

farmhouses are scattered. Here live the rest of Peru's 151 inhabitants. 
The town is built on an isolated knoll rising above a swampy plateau. 
Scrub spruce trees, which impede a view of the mountains and valleys, 
give Peru the wild, somber aspect of a more northern region. The little 
white church, its steeple visible for miles, is set so exactly on the 
mountaintop that its ridgepole is said to split a raindrop between the 
Housatonic and Connecticut watersheds. 

Peru was incorporated on July 4, 1771, as Partridgefield, named 
after Oliver Partridge, one of the original purchasers of the grant. 
Among the earliest settlers was Charles Ford, who came from New 
London, Connecticut, in 1799. He brought with him a horse and cart, 
a yoke of steers, two cows, and one hog. According to legend, the hog 
became footsore and delayed the party by limping along in the rear. 
Mr. Ford, who was a shoemaker by trade, had leather and tools with 
him. He made boots for the hog's feet, and hog-in-boots arrived in 
Peru none the worse for travel. 

When the village was renamed in 1806, townsmen explained, "Like 
Peru in South America, we are in the mountains, and though there 
is no gold and silver under the rocks, our town favors hard money 
and begins with a P." Two years before, the western district of Peru 
had been set off, and, along with additions of land from neighboring 
grants, incorporated as the town of Hinsdale. 

Peru has always been primarily an agricultural township. At one 
time several sawmills, a small limestone quarry, and a cheese factory 
operated here, but they have long since disappeared. Some of the 
inhabitants now engage in dairy farming and gardening, marketing 
their produce in Hinsdale, Dalton, and Pittsfield. Since Peru's soil 
is thin and early frosts cut short the growing season, townsmen sup- 
plement their income by working in the mills of Dalton and Pittsfield 
or on the town roads. 

"Mayor" Frank Creamer moved away to Pittsfield after his defeat 
in 1927, the village store in Peru was closed down, and there is now 
no post office. Even delivery trucks from Hinsdale and Dalton do not 
range into the back country where most of the inhabitants live. When 
the farmers come to town with their produce, they do their week's 
shopping. Families in the backhills usually stock up a winter's supply 
in the autumn. 

While the Mayor's general store was still doing business, its proprie- 

252 The Berkshire Hills 

tor often asserted that his emporium could fill any need on an instant's 
notice. Tired of the boast, a customer once decided to call the bluff, 
and put in a hurry call for a pair of false teeth and a casket. Both 
were produced from stock without delay! 

After Town Meeting Day, the third Sunday in August is Peru's 
gala event. This "Old Home Sunday" at the CONGREGATIONAL 
CHURCH attracts about two hundred people, most of whom are 
former residents or descendants of the early settlers. The afternoon is 
spent renewing old friendships and swapping stories of the days when 
their forefathers came in ox carts to worship in the first litde meeting- 
house. The Congregational Church has always been the only rehgious 
organization in Peru. At one time the church was the center of com- 
munity activity and had eight hundred members, but since 1920 there 
has been no resident pastor and there are only ten church members. 

The road to WINDSOR is Mass 143, which leads back from Peru 
down the western slope to Hinsdale, then up Mass 8 to Dalton and out 
on Mass 9 (the Berkshire Trail). A dirt road leads cross-country from 
Peru to East Windsor. It is a short cut through the forest, but danger- 
ous because of the mud in wet weather. 

Windsor's story is like that of its hilltop neighbors, Peru and Savoy. 
Settled in 1767, it became a prosperous community in its first half- 
century through agriculture and lumbering. The severe climate and 
thin, stony soil were better adapted for livestock than for field crops, 
but enough grain could be raised in the secluded valleys to supply the 
needs of the community. 

In the 1820's the supply of lumber along the swift mountain streams 
seemed inexhaustible; sawmills, tanneries, shingle and wooden ware 
factories were busy from sun-up until sun-down. The population in- 
creased and new churches and schools were built. Windsor, Savoy, 
and Peru seemed certain to become important manufacturing centers. 

In a single generation the forest was stripped bare. By 1850 there 
were no more giant hemlocks, birches or oaks for the sawmills, nor 
enough hemlock bark to supply the tanneries. With their natural 
resources exhausted, the Berkshire hill towns began to decline. Wind- 
sor suffered a death blow when the railroad ran its tracks too far away 
to provide transportation. 

In its heyday in 1830, Windsor had a population of over a thou- 

Where Old New England Lingers 253 

sand; today about four hundred remain. The last industry departed 
seven years ago — the Old Red Mill which had been grinding out 
lollipop sticks and butcher skewers. As in Hinsdale, the farmers of 
Windsor, losing hope for productive crops from the wornout soil of 
the steep hillsides, have turned to selling Christmas trees. Every winter 
truckloads of trees and greens are shipped to the railhead, and as fast 
as one slope is cut over, new seedlings are planted. 

In addition to the Christmas-tree trade, Windsor depends on 
poultry raising and dairy farming. It has no organized summer colony 
and so must make the most of its large estates. One of these, BROOK- 
VALE FARM, for many years in the possession of the Crane family of 
Dal ton, was sold in 1937 to a wealthy New Yorker for a summer 
home. It is three miles from the Dalton-Windsor town line on Mass 9. 
East from Windsor Center along both sides of the same road stretches 
the estate of Colonel Budd, retired United States Army officer. 

Windsor used to have much the same sort of partisan poUtics as 
Peru. One "side" was led by Charles H. Sturtevant, who retired from 
his carpentry labors in Pittsfield years ago and now operates a com- 
bined gas station, bar, and grocery on the Berkshire Trail (Mass 9). 
To the townspeople and the Berf^shire Eagle, which occasionally re- 
peats his "sayings," he is the local "Uncle Ezra." They call him "Pop" 
Sturtevant. He explains his present occupation as quite accidental, for 
it had been his original intention to erect a hunting lodge on the acre 
of ground he purchased in Windsor some years ago. 

"While I was working at it, folks would stop and ask, 'What are 
you building, a gas station?' I'd say 'Yes' and they'd go on. I said it so 
many times I believed it myself, and one day a gas company man 
stopped, and first thing I knew I'd signed up for some tanks and 

"Big Bill" Estes is leader of the other "side." In true Shakespearian 
fashion, "Pop's" daughter married Mr. Estes's son, much against the 
wishes of the respective fathers. "Big Bill" is the real boss in Windsor, 
but as selectman he runs the village with the aid of the ladies. Women 
play a large part in local political life; the school committee members 
are all women; there is a woman town clerk; and until last February 
Miss Euphemia Drysdale was the only minister in town. 

In his American Noteboo/^^ Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote with won- 

254 '^^^ Berkshire Hills 

derment about the natural setting of Windsor over a hundred years 

The highest point of our journey was at Windsor, where we could see 
leagues around over the mountain — a terrible bare, bleak spot, fit for noth- 
ing but sheep, and without shelter of woods. We rattled downward, into 
a warmer region, beholding, as we went, the sun shining on portions of 
the landscape miles ahead of us, while we were yet in chillness and gloom. 
It is probable that, during part of the stage the mists around looked like 
sky clouds to those in the lower regions. Think of riding in a stagecoach 
through the clouds! 

Windsor may yet become a tourist tow^n on the Berkshire TraiL 
Each year now, more signs read "Tourists accommodated" and road- 
side stands appear along the stretch of highway. Miles of old wooded 
roads lie back among the hills, excellent for hiking and riding; there 
are streams well stocked with fish and open slopes for skiing. 

On the summit of Windsor Mountain is WINDSOR CENTER, 
marked only by the Post Office, flanked by red gasoline pumps and 
overnight cabins, the Town Hall with the name "Windsor" painted 
across its roof, the small plain church, and a scattering of neat, in- 
conspicuous houses. Behind the church the old horse and carriage 
sheds are reminders of days when a chorus of hungry whinneys would 
prompt a long-winded parson to terminate a two-hour sermon. 

THE WINDSOR STATE FOREST, bordering on the town of 
Cummington, contains 1,500 acres of land, thirty-five acres of which 
have been equipped for picnics and camping. The Forest is accessible 
from West Cummington by a marked road into the woods following 
the East Branch of the Westfield River. The road leads past a swim- 
ming pool to a parking space. Three hundred feet further on is the 
famous WINDSOR JAMBS, where the waters of Boundary Brook 
flow through a deep gorge in a series of cascades, one of which drops 
about fifty feet. The cascades may best be seen from the top of the 
cliffs, reached only by foot trails. From Windsor Center, a dirt road 
goes north to Savoy and joins Mass 116 running west to Adams. 

The town of SAVOY was given away to get it started. In 1771 the 
General Court presented it to the "heirs of Captain Samuel Gallup 
and Company for services and sufferings rendered and endured in an 
expedition against Canada during King William's War about 1690." 

Where Old New England Lingers 255 

Abel Lawrence, a Boston landowner, had bid for the tract at ^ 1,350 
but never turned over more than a down payment o£ ^^20 "as the 
land was not as good as represented." 

Savoy seems once to have been a town of varied accomplishments. 
In the nineteenth century the township had five villages, six religious 
bodies, sixteen sawmills, sixteen cemeteries, and a tavern. Two post 
offices still serve a town of three hundred people — Savoy Hollow and 
Brier, each receiving its mail from a different route. 

Up to 1920 the farmers sold their cord wood at the limekilns in 
Cheshire and Adams. Recendy even this occupation has ceased be- 
cause three State Forest areas have absorbed much of Savoy's land. 
Despite the decrease of taxable territory and the increase of non- 
productive acreage, the thrifty town was free of debt in 1938. Although 
the State Forests attract more and more visitors yearly, as yet there is 
small compensation for the loss of the land. 

Savoy is an old people's town. Ruddy-faced Yankee farmers and 
buxom housewives make up the majority of the population. The men 
are usually "jacksof -all-trades." They have to be, in a town where 
there are no regular jobs and where soil is too rocky and thin for good 
crops. Most of the houses are old and weatherbeaten, with ells and 
additions denoting the growth of large families down through the 
years. On Mass 116, coming from Adams, is a typical Savoy house 
with seven distinct additions. All the children stayed at home and 
raised more children to live in new wings. They are all probably 
buried in one or more of the town's sixteen cemeteries. 

Just as almost every town on Cape Cod has a sea-serpent story, 
Berkshire abounds with tales of missing travelers. At every second 
town, some unfortunate wayfarer has disappeared, never to be seen 
again. Of all these legends, the most gruesome is the tale of the 
traveler who haunted the tavern in Savoy. 

One black night when the rain poured dov^oi the mountains and 
the thunder sounded like the trumpets of Judgment Day, a lone 
traveler stopped for the night at the tavern in Savoy Hollow. He was 
never seen thereafter. The landlord, accused of robbing and murder- 
ing his guest, sobbed out an indignant denial. Since there was no 
proof of death, nothing could be done; but from that day on the 
tavern was haunted. Travelers fled in terror when they saw blood- 
stains on the stairs — bloodstains that could not be washed away or 

256 The Berkshire Hills 

even covered. The specter o£ the murdered man, hollow-eyed and 
gory, appeared in an upstairs window, mutely warning wayfarers to 
shun the dubious hospitality of the tavern. To make matters worse, a 
short time after the traveler vanished, a man working in a hay field 
nearby mysteriously broke his neck. For years afterward his spirit was 
said to haunt the vicinity, moaning and groaning mournfully. No 
tavern could survive the attentions of two spooks like these, and at 
last it .closed its doors. One would not suspect so bloodcurdling a 
chapter in the annals of Savoy, the peaceful hamlet which never 
housed a lawyer nor paid the bills of more than one "home" doctor. 

Savoy's most remarkable character was a witless wanderer, "Crazy 
Sue" Dunham, of whom it was said that "no fairer human being ever 
blossomed out into maidenhood upon these hills than she, or lass more 
pretty, pert, and quick witted." Sue lost her sanity while still young, 
either from religious excitement, study, or a tragic love affair. For 
fifty years, through the storms and heat, ice and snow, Sue traveled 
the roads of Berkshire, a poor, wild, aimless, and harmless being who 
recognized no family and no home. 

Crazy as she was, Sue was not stupid. She could score on any 
prankster who sought to make sport of her. At one time when she 
was visiting at the home of Abel West in Savoy, Abel was awakened 
at midnight by the smell of fire. Alarmed, he rushed downstairs to 
find Sue calmly sitting before a blaze roaring so high out of the fire- 
place that it licked the mantelpiece. 

"Sue, Sue, what are you doing?" he cried, hugging his nightshirt 
close around him with one hand while trying to put out the fire with 
the other. 

"Oh, I heard that Cain had killed Abel," she replied, "and I 
thought I might as well have Abel's clothes." 

She was wearing her host's entire wardrobe — one reason he was in 
his nightshirt. 

Still and all. Savoy did not really get excited over the antics of 
"Crazy Sue." If she set a fire, someone put it out. If she "swapped" 
babies, well, mothers usually recognized their own and "swapped" 
them back again. If she had a verbal battle with a preacher — why, the 
preacher was always defeated. Did a preacher good to have the wind 
taken out of his sails occasionally. Savoy folks had felt that way ever 
since the wild revival of 1810, started by the "Reverend Joseph Smith" 

Where Old New England Ungers 257 

(not the Smith who founded the Church of the Latter Day Saints). 
That, of course, was pretty close to being real excitement, what with 
this out-of-the-state preacher coming into town so fine and high, stir- 
ring folks up to a fearful state of frenzy and jitters, and then topping 
it all by courting a pretty Savoy lass. But even that soon blew over, 
with the girl sobbing into her mother's apron and the preacher — who 
already had a wife — taking infinite pains not to outstay his welcome 
in Berkshire. In fact, he scooted out of town like a streak of greased 
lightning at the very first mention of his former marital adventure, 
without waiting for a hymn or a hallelujah. 

Savoy's chief attractions today are its three State Forests. A large 
portion of both the Savoy and Mohawk Forests are within the town's 
boundaries, and the northern tip of the Windsor Forest extends into 
the southeastern section. Not one of these is easily accessible from 
Savoy. SAVOY STATE FOREST is near Savoy Hollow and the 
Mohawk area near Brier, but neither road is comfortable to drive over. 
The best entrance to the Savoy Forest is from the Mohawk Trail, 
Mass 2. Where the Trail crosses the Cold River bridge in Florida a dirt 
road turns left over the hill into the reservation. The 10,000-acre forest 
includes a game preserve and a large picnic and camping ground, as 
well as Tannery Falls. TANNERY FALLS PARK near the waterfall 
has been developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a picnic 
place. From the park, trails lead through the woods beside a brook 
which gurgles along a gorge to plunge one hundred and fifty feet 
into a clear pool. The same path leads past ROSS FALLS, a miniature 
of Tannery Falls. In the northeastern corner of Savoy is MOHAWK 
TRAIL STATE FOREST, named from the Trail which runs through 
it. Although smaller than the Savoy preserve, it has been better de- 
veloped for picnicking, camping, and winter sports. 

As a special lure Savoy boasts "the best hard cider in New 

Chapter XIV 

CHESHIRE — Mass 8, sett. 1766, alt. 945, pop. 1660. 

ADAMS — Mass 8, 116, sett. 1766, alt. 799, pop. 12,858. 

Roads — Mass 116 runs northwest from Savoy to Adams or, after a circle 
tour ending in Dalton, ta\e Mass 8 west and then north to Cheshire and 

The towns o£ Cheshire and Adams lie sheltered in the Hoosic Valley, 
at the foot of Greylock, king of the Berkshires. Cheshire — clean and 
prim; Adams — smoky and sprawling. 

Visitors reared in the proper literary traditions naturally hope to 
find cats and cheeses in CHESHIRE. The only cats are family pussies, 
no relation to Alice's grinning feline, but once this litde town was 
renowned throughout the country for its cheeses, and the most famous 
is actually commemorated. A large SIGNBOARD on the main high- 
way (Mass 8) in the center of Cheshire reads: 




Weighing 1235 lbs, One Day's Product of the 
Town's Dairies, Moulded in a Cider Press 

It was drawn by Oxen to Hudson, N.Y. 
And Shipped by water to Washington 

It was presented at the White House to President 


As a Token of Regard from the Citizens of Cheshire. 

"The Great Cheese" symbolized Cheshire's satisfaction with the 
election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency in 1800. The idea of 


In the Valley of the Hoosic 259 

creating this monster among edibles was put forth by a Baptist clergy- 
man of Cheshire, Elder John Leland. A friend of Jefferson, he 
thought the town should send the new executive a testimonial of 
esteem. Most appropriate would naturally be a Cheshire product with- 
out peer in size or quality — cheese, of course. Elder Leland broached 
the subject to his congregation one Sunday from his pulpit. On a 
certain day, he told them, those favorably disposed toward the venture 
should bring their milk or curds to Brown's cider mill, where a suit- 
able hoop would be in readiness. When the time came. Democrat 
farmers from miles around rattled up in wagons generously loaded, 
and even three Federalists dispensed with their political differences for 
the occasion. The ultimate masterpiece was carted of? to Washington 
under the personal supervision of Elder Leland. A presentation speech 
echoed the sentiment of Cheshire's vigorous farmer-Democrats: 

We believe the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, who raises up men to 
achieve great events, has raised up a Jefferson at this critical day to defend 
Republicanism, and to bafflle the arts of aristocracy . . . The cheese was 
procured by the personal labor of freeborn farmers with the voluntary and 
cheerful aid of their wives and daughters, without the assistance of a 
single slave. It is not the last stone of the Bastille, nor is it an article of 
great pecuniary worth, but as a free-will offering, we hope it will be 
favorably received. 

The gargantuan delicacy was eaten by President Jefferson, by mem- 
bers of his cabinet, and by various foreign and domestic dignitaries; 
and even though the White House servants got their wedge, after six 
months cheese was still in evidence. Jefferson insisted on making 
a cash present; in his diary for 1802 he records, "Gave Rev'd Mr. 
Leland, bearer of cheese of 1235 lbs. weight, 20od." This is at the rate 
of sixteen cents a pound, high for the time, particularly since Jefferson 
returned a goodly slice that the inhabitants of Cheshire might enjoy 
the product of their own labors. 

Twenty-eight years after the presentation of the "Great Cheese" at 
Washington, Molly Cole and her husband fashioned another, weigh- 
ing a hundred pounds, for President Andrew Jackson. *'Aunt Molly" 
plied her trade in Berkshire for fifty-two years, and "Cole's Cheshire 
Cheese" came to be a household byword. "Old Hickory," acknowledg- 
ing the gift, neatly combined domestic and foreign affairs in his letter, 

26o The Berkshire Hills 

which is preserved in the old COLE HOUSE, opposite the Baptist 
Church and north of the Cheese sign on Mass 8, It reads: 

Washington, May 5, 1829 

I have rec'd today the large and fine cheese which you and Mrs. Cole 
have been so kind as to present to me, and I accept it with much satisfac- 
tion as a proof of your joint respect for my character. Its value is much 
enhanced by the consideration that it is an offering from those whose in- 
dustry and management in this branch of domestic economy deserve the 
thanks of the Country. 

In regard to the naval resources of the United States upon which you 
express a desire to have my opinion, it gives me pleasure to answer that 
I have not the least doubt of their sufficiency to place us on a par, at no 
distant day, with the most powerful nation in the world. This period 
however and the necessity for the naval power to which you allude must 
depend upon many considerations which I could not enumerate in this 
letter. Be pleased to present me respectfully to your lady and believe me 

obliged servant, 

Andrew Jackson. 

The house where the Coles molded their cheese for President 
Jackson is now a tea room, THE CHESHIRE CAT, operated by a 
great-granddaughter of the cheese makers, Mrs. Bennett. When she 
had the house redecorated in 1921, workmen discovered elaborate 
Masonic emblems under the five layers of wall paper. The symbols, 
brown on a blue-green background, included the royal arch, the bee- 
hive, the anchor, a square and compass, a Bible, a balance, keys, a 
bugle, and insignia unfamiliar even to Masons today. The Franklin 
Lodge, according to local tradition organized in 1794 on Stafford Hill, 
held meetings in this house when it was known as Hall's Tavern. 
Built in 1804, it was used eight years later as a place of confinement 
for British soldiers captured during the War of 1812. The front door 
of the old house has a large double cross on it, traditionally a protec- 
tion against witches and evil spirits. 

STAFFORD HILL was the site of the original setdement of 
Cheshire. In 1766 Nicholas Cook of Providence and Joseph Bennett 
of Coventry, Rhode Island, purchased a tract of land at the foot of 
Greylock and employed Joab Stafford to survey and map the new 
community. Captain Stafford was a Rhode Island Baptist, as were all 

In the Valley of the Hoosic 261 

the first settlers who built houses on the wind-swept hilltop. Many of 
them claimed descent from Roger Williams himself. 

For more than ten years, New Providence went its way alone. At 
last, in 1780, despite a protest from Adams, the little colony was 
annexed as a district of the older town. The arrangement was not 
satisfactory, for New Providence was too far from Adams. Eventually 
it occurred to the setders that they could separate from a town that 
did not want them, and in cooperation with some neighboring com- 
munities could form a new town of their own. There was, for in- 
stance, a tract of land in northeast Lanesborough which was separated 
from the center by a range of hills. A corner of northwest Windsor, 
adjoining the Lanesborough area on the side of Mount Amos, was 
remote from the voting district of Windsor. To the northwest, a group 
of New Ashford families were faced by a high mountain ridge when 
they headed for the polls in their town. All these communities were in 
the valley of the Hoosic River. With one accord they joined in de- 
manding to become a new township. 

The new town was formed in 1793 and named after the cheese- 
making county of Cheshire in England. The boundaries, staked off in 
the peculiar fashion revealed by the map today, appear to have been 
laid out by a bolt of lighming. When complete, there were twenty-five 
or more corners with angles of all degrees. 

It is a tradition with some basis of truth that this gerrymandering 
wasn't really necessary, despite the fact that the town was made up of 
odd corners of older communities. But at that time Cheshire was almost 
unanimously Baptist, while some of its sister towns, particularly Lanes- 
borough, were Congregational. According to the story, pressure was 
brought to bear on the surveyors to include the Baptists and leave 
the Congregationalists out of Cheshire. 

Another account of the marking of the town's boundaries takes 
little stock in the religious element. It states flady that, "It is quite 
evident that the line was drawn to follow the summit of the ridges, 
and . . . until four corners were rounded off some time ago ... it 
was the most irregular town in the county." By counting in "several 
jogs in the bank of the river," Lenox now claims the distinction. 

Upon the completion of their meetinghouse on Stafford Hill in 
1774, the townspeople sent for the Reverend Peter Werden, who had 
been their pastor in Coventry, Rhode Island. This "Father of the 

262 The Berkshire Hills 

Baptist Churches in the Berkshires" ruled his Uttle flock with high 
conscience during his forty years of service, as one anecdote leaves no 
room for doubt. 

Colonel Samuel Low, one of the first settlers in Cheshire, a promi- 
nent and wealthy citizen, lived near the meetinghouse on Stafford 
Hill. Before coming to Cheshire, he had made his home in Providence, 
where he had been master of four slaves, parents and two children. 
He freed the parents but brought the children with him to Berkshire. 

When the Colonel applied for membership in the Baptist Church 
on Stafford Hill, Elder Werden refused him admission unless he freed 
the two young slaves. The issue developed into a long polemic between 
the two men on the morality of slaveholding. One letter written by 
Elder Werden to Colonel Low on March 2, 1792, has been preserved: 

Dear Brother: 

We received your letter and the brothers hath heard it read. . . . We 
wish you, my dear brother, to attend to the proposition you mentioned — 
all men are born free. Therefore our desire is, you liberate him [the slave 
Anthony] immediately ... as we think it will dishonor our profession 
if this is not dun. 

Elder Werden won his point. 

But it remained for John Leland, the Baptist Elder of Cheshire, to 
put all clerical rivals in the shade. Leland obtained a Baptist preacher's 
license in 1774, and was ordained, seemingly in North Carolina, in 
1787. When catechized by the ordaining officers, he displayed a stub- 
born reluctance to admit anything he might find hard to back up 

"Brother Leland," began the interrogation, "it becomes my duty 
according to prearrangements to ask you a few questions upon your 
faith and in reference to your call to the ministry." 

Question: "Brother Leland, do you believe that God chose His people 

in Christ before the foundation of the world?" 
Answer: "I know nothing, Brother, about what God was doing 

before the foundation of the world." 
Question: "Brother Leland, do you not believe that God had a people 

before the foundation of the world?" 
Answer: "If he had, Brother, they were not our kind of folks. 

Christian people were made out of dust, you know, and 

In the Valley of the Hoosic 263 

before the foundation of the world there was no dust to 

make them out of." 
Question: "Well, well, Brother Leland, you believe at least that it is 

your duty to preach the Gospel to every creature?" 
Answer: "No, my Brother, I do not believe it to be my duty to 

preach to the Dutch, for instance, for I can't do it. When 

the Lord sent the Apostles to preach to every nation He 

taught them to talk to all sorts of people, but He never 

taught me to talk Dutch yet." 

Before he moved to Cheshire in 1791, Elder Leland had been a 
Revolutionary soldier; and, although born in Massachusetts, had 
become the leader of the large Baptist group in Orange County, 
Virginia. A forceful speaker and ardent exponent of religious freedom, 
he was nominated by his followers in 1788 as delegate to the Virginia 
Convention, where he planned to oppose the adoption of the Federal 
Constitution. Another candidate for the Convention was James Madi- 
son, who discovered to his alarm that one John Leland, a Baptist 
divine strongly opposed to ratification, had a considerable following 
and would practically control the voting in his section. Madison was 
told that Leland was a man of strong mind and iron will. He had 
sprung from the lower class of society and considered himself "called" 
from on High to preach the Gospel as well as whatever else came 
into his head. The people of his district loved and respected him. 

In the shade of an oak near the Orange County Court House, 
Madison and Leland met. They talked long and earnestly, their horses 
tied to the oak and they themselves pacing up and down the road. 
Madison was polite, persuasive, and very sure of his facts. The per- 
suasiveness and the certainty at last bore fruit. Elder Leland was 
convinced that Madison should be elected to the Virginia Convention 
and that the Constitution must be ratified. 

Leland was Elder of Cheshire's Baptist community from 1791 until 
his death in 1841. One of the many stories about him concerns the 
habit he had of carrying a favorite hymn book in his coattail pocket. 
One evening before a large prayer meeting he reached for his hymnal 
but instead drew out a pack of playing cards, which flew in every 
direction. For some seconds the Elder stood riveted to his pulpit in 
speechless horror; finally he turned from his shocked and astonished 
audience, murmuring in a resigned voice, "My John!" 

264 The Berkshire Hills 

"My John" was no apostle, but the Elder's own son. 

Cheshire must have been proud of its militant pastor Leland, 
for prior to its incorporation as a town, New Providence soldiers had 
joined the independent company of Silver Greys who marched to 
Bennington on August 12, 1777. A MEMORIAL to these patriots 
has been erected in front of the cemetery just oil the highway north 
of the Cheese sign. A bas-relief, depicting the entrance of the Berk- 
shire volunteers into Bennington, shows Parson Allen of Pittsfield 
with his Bible under one arm. Colonel Stafford is at the head of the 
New Providence Greys, and in the lead are friendly Stockbridge 
Indians, acting as scouts. This tablet, the original of which was erected 
by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the Bennington Battle- 
field, was dedicated by Eugene Bucklin Bowen, fourteen of whose 
ancestors are named on the plaque. 

Colonel Stafford, the Revolutionary hero, died in 1801, three 
months after he had lost all his land in Cheshire by quit-claim. He 
was buried in "God's Acre," the little cemetery built by the first 
settlers of New Providence, on the westernmost slope of the hill 
which bore his name. A century and a half later, when a MEMORIAL 
TOWER was erected on the hill to the memory of "The Pioneers 
and Patriots of New Providence," Colonel Stafford's remains were 
removed to a stone crypt beneath the tower. The monument, built 
of rough field stone, is a replica of the old Stone Mill, commonly 
called the Norse Mill, which was erected by Governor Benedict 
Arnold on his Newport estate. 

Stafford Hill Ues northeast of the present town center. If you 
have come from Savoy on Mass 116, watch for the sign marked 
STAFFORD HILL after you cross the Cheshire town line, and if 
you have driven out from Adams, you will also have to look sharp 
for the sign. But if you have come into Cheshire along Mass 8, turn 
east at the Cheese sign, go down into the center of the town, and 
bear left at the austere Town Hall. 

The Stafford Hill settlement has left today only two old farm- 
houses, a monument in the field, "God's Acre" on the sheltered slope, 
and its outlook over the countryside. The pioneers who selected hill- 
tops for their homes chose them from motives of sense rather than 
sentiment, but whether they realized it or not, the Rhode Island 
Baptists picked for themselves one of the loveliest spots in Berkshire, 

In the Valley of the Hoosic 265 

in full view of majestic Greylock, and overlooking the green Hoosac 

To reach Cheshire Center from Stafford Hill, return to the junc- 
tion with Mass 116 and turn left on a dirt road to Cheshire's "East 
Side," disparagingly called SCRABBLETOWN. Although the first 
setders here were so poor they had to "scrabble" for a living, and the 
forbidding name persists, the village today is a neighborhood of small 
neat houses with trim little gardens. Scrabbletown's peculiar name is 
by no means unique, for Cheshire has some choice ones — Hell's 
Kitchen, Pork Lane, Zip Thunder, and Pumpkin Hook. 

As you cross the railroad tracks from Scrabbletown you are enter- 
ing Cheshire's "West Side," the quiet and prosperous section around 

In Cheshire Center, as you swing onto Mass 8 at the Cheese sign, 
look down toward the old CHESHIRE INN, built in 1797. In stage- 
coach days glass blowers, lime burners, iron miners, and woodsmen 
stopped here to regale themselves with rum or flip. The inn, known at 
that time as the Hoosac Valley House, was the favorite meeting place 
of glass blowers, many of whom lived in Cheshire, the first Berkshire 
town to take up glass manufacturing as a major occupation. The 
excellent sandbeds in the vicinity are said by local authorities to 
have been used in the production of cut glass and later plate glass, 
but "pressed glass," a specialty of Sandwich industry, was never manu- 
factured in this town. Indeed, the claim is that Cape Cod's famous 
Sandwich glass was made of an inferior grade of Cheshire sand. 

As early as 1812 the Cheshire Crown Glass Company was incor- 
porated by Daniel Brown and three associates. In one year no less than 
thirteen factories in Pittsburgh were kept going solely with the 
products of local pits. George W. Gordon, an ex-postmaster of Boston 
and one-time American minister to Brazil, was among the first to 
recognize the possibilities of the white quartz sand. 

Though the manufacture of blown glass, plate, and window glass 
all originated in Cheshire before spreading to other Berkshire towns, 
it survives today only as a quarrying operation in one locality, about 
a mile out of the village near the south shore of Hoosac Lake. The 
principal contemporary industry has become the processing of lime 
for building and allied purposes. Twenty-one limekilns in the south- 
ern part of Cheshire, in the section known as Farnams, are now all 

266 The Berkshire Hills 

owned by the United States Gypsum Company. Set up several years 
before the Civil War, the original limekiln was sold in 1866 to the 
Farnam brothers, under whose guidance the Farnams Lime Works 
became one of the largest in Berkshire. 

The coating of white dust on the factory roofs of the United States 
Gypsum Company, on their cupolas and blower stacks, gives the place 
an arctic look, even in midsummer. A narrow-gauge railroad runs 
through a long tunnel from the factory to the great quarries. In 1923 
and 1924, tenement houses were built near the plant at Farnams for 
sixty families, most of them Irish, Italian, Polish and Yankee. Others 
of the hundred-odd employees lived in Cheshire Center or in Berk- 
shire, a section of Lanesborough which lies south and west of Cheshire. 

In the nineteenth century, when the products of the glass factories, 
limekilns and cheese presses were being shipped out of Cheshire in 
increasing quantities, human freight was being shipped in. Cheshire 
Harbor was in AboHtionist days an active station on the Underground 
Railroad. Suitable as a refuge, it lay three miles north of the Center 
in a secluded ravine just off Mass 8, from which Cheshire Harbor 
Trail winds up the side of Greylock. One of the last passengers on 
the Underground system was John Brown of Osawatomie. No one 
knows who sheltered him, for Harbor people never talked about their 
guests, but they sent "God's Angry Man" safely on his way to another 
Berkshire refuge. 

There is a tradition that, many years before John Brown, no less 
a visitor than Captain Kidd came to Cheshire. It is said that he planted 
a chest of gold and silver beneath the doorstep of Widow Read's 
house in the Harbor before setting out on a buccaneering adventure. 
A chance to prove — or rather to disprove — the story went glimmering. 
A strange gentleman once appeared at the widow's door and asked 
her permission to make subterranean exploration beneath her home. 
The privilege was indignantly refused. Dig up her doorstep.? The 
widow guessed not, and told the gentleman so. 

Gold in Berkshire! Gold in old Greylock, on its sides and back! 
Gold in its pockets and piled in masses on its shoulders! Gold in 
the town of ADAMS! GOLD! . . . GOLD! . . . GOLD! Words 
that have sent more than one man stumbling up the mountain trails, 
past the ruined hut of the old hermit who lived high up on the moun- 


In the Valley of the Hoosic 267 

tainside, back in the 1700's. Whenever he made one of his rare visits 
to the Adams general store, he paid for his purchases with nuggets 
and gold dust. When asked where he found the treasure, the old man 
would wink craftily. Or he would draw the questioner to one side. 
Then with his withered lips close to an eager ear, he would whisper, 
"I'll tell you next time. Ha! Ha! Ha!" The old hermit never told. 
There was a storm, a winter blizzard. After it was over, the old man 
was found frozen to death. 

In the 1700's Greylock was not ready to yield the bright streak 
in its veins. Nor in the 1800's. The twentieth century finds it still 
reluctant. Experts have declared their belief in the existence of a min- 
eral belt extending from the north down through New England into 
the Carolinas and Georgia, and Berkshire County lies direcdy in 
its path. But mining engineers unanimously agree that Greylock's 
gold is present in such small quantities that it would cost more than it 
is worth to get it out. 

Through the years many Berkshire men have hacked into Grey- 
lock, and every one has come away disappointed. They left yawning 
holes in the mountain's sides — holes into which many of them poured 
their strength, their youth, and their money. There is a twenty-foot 
pit on the center slope of Greylock, still barely discernible, and higher 
up, the deep excavation made by the Quakers. There are many others. 

The town of Adams owes its expansion to the Quakers. As early 
as 1738 petition had been made for the land in order that the Dutch 
from New York might be precluded from settlement. The General 
Court, to which the petition of Thomas Welles had been directed, 
generously responded by ordering: "If the land seems accommodable 
for inhabitants, that they survey and lay out one or more Townships 
of the Contents of six miles square and return Plats thereof to this 
Court." A map of the territory later allotted to the towns of Adams, 
North Adams, and Williamstown was made by Nathan Kellogg in 
1739; eight years afterward a party of surveyors under Colonel Oliver 
Partridge went to "the Province Lands near Hoosuck with a surveyor 
and chainmen" to "return an account of the distance that said town- 
ship bears from Fort Massachusetts." 

It was more than ten years before the survey was really complete 
and a territory seven miles long and five miles wide mapped out. 
All four corners were right angles, so that East Hoosuck became the 

268 The Berkshire Hills 

only unit in the county with a regular geometrical shape. The sur- 
veyed land was then sold at auction to the highest bidder. 

The pioneer settlers of East Hoosuck, later named Adams in honor 
of Samuel Adams, the Revolutionary patriot, were Rhode Island 
Quakers. For many years the Quaker section, in the southern part of 
the settlement, was the most enterprising, but gradually this "South 
Adams" was surpassed by North Adams in size. In 1878, the original 
East Hoosuck area was divided into identical parallelograms, and the 
southern village called itself just plain Adams. 

The Quakers had migrated in 1766 from Rhode Island to establish 
a colony on better soil where they could perhaps live more prosper- 
ously. Devout and industrious, they laid out farms, built saw and grist 
mills and sought to make their community as self-sufl5cient as possible. 
Quite by accident, members of the colony discovered gold high up 
on the side of Mt. Greylock, but in a vein of ore too narrow and 
inaccessible to be much worked. Tradition has it that they also found 
a deposit of copper streaked with silver, but kept their discovery 
secret; there is no account of it in the early records of Adams. 

The Quakers were primarily agriculturists, and after the sporadic 
attempts at mining they returned to the more prosaic occupation of 
farming. As time passed and other settlers from New York and Con- 
necticut came into the little town at the foot of Greylock, industry 
replaced agricultural enterprise. The first mill in Adams was built by 
William Pollock, whose career began by seUing an old horse for a 
lottery ticket which won the capital prize. The cotton industry was 
introduced into the town from Rhode Island in 1811; raw cotton was 
sent up the Hudson from New York City to Troy in river boats and 
thence was carted by teams to Adams. Along the same overland 
and water route, the finished cloth was returned to city markets until 
the Western Railroad extended its line into Berkshire in 1842. 

As in Hinsdale, the Plunkett dynasty from Lenox was the real 
power in Adams' cotton manufacture. General William C. Plunkett, 
son of Patrick Plunkett from Ireland, was the first of a line which 
ruled local cotton mills for many years. Although born a poor man, 
the general had before 1832 acquired the entire stock of the cotton 
mills then operating under the name of the Adams South Village 
Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company. Until the mid-century 
manufacture of cloth from native wool was an equally important 

In the Valley of the Hoosic 269 

industry, but farmers discontinued raising sheep with the bitter com- 
ment, "Too many dogs in the town." 

Paper mills were luckier, being immune to the canine menace. 
Daniel and William Jenks and their nephew, Levi Brown, began 
the manufacture of paper in Adams in 1849 under the mark of the 
L. L. Brown Company. They hold a record of never having used a 
scrap of colored rags in their products, and are believed to be the 
only company in the United States using all white clippings in the 
manufacture of ledger, linen, and bond paper. 

On the road to North Adams in the community called Zylonite 
is jewel-like BLUE LAKE. From Greylock its intense azure catches 
the eye, distracting it from drab chimneypots and smokestacks. You 
would imagine yourself in Switzerland. Blue as the heavens when 
the sun shines over the waters, in a glass it is clear as crystal. The 
strange phenomenon is caused by lime waste drifting on to the water, 
for opposite the lake is the New England Lime Company and in the 
same vicinity the Hoosac Lime Company. The trees, houses and road 
are powdered with the soft white coating from the floating dust. 
The town prides itself on this industry and boasts of the tonnage of 
Adams lime that went into building the Harvard Medical School in 

From one end of town to the other — from Maple Grove, the 
French village on the south, to Zylonite, the lime town on the north 
— Adams is dotted with mills. Some of the brick and stone mills are 
still in operation; others have either been transformed into garages, 
junk shops and storehouses, or stand vacant with broken windows 
and sagging doors. Twenty-five years ago, when spindles were flying 
and every man had a job, new workers and their families crowded 
into town. But the story is different today. When the mills are 
"down," as they say in Adams, everyone is hard hit. In the summer 
of 1938, the cotton mills of the town began production again, after 
having been shut for months. 

Casual visitors to Adams would not easily know when the mills 
are "down." There might be a number of loungers on street corners 
or fewer automobiles on the road at weekends; otherwise there would 
be little indication that Adams was once again on "short time." The 
uniform brick tenement houses lining the streets would have clean 
white curtains and an occasional flowerpot to break the monotonous 

270 The Berkshire Hills 

picture. By some extra stamina or heritage of endurance, the sturdy 
Poles and French-Canadians who make up the larger part of the 
town's population have contrived to exist and to make a gesture 
toward gaiety despite "lay-offs" and "short time." 

The older Irish and Yankee groups in Adams have long since 
been outnumbered by the Poles; French-Canadians run second, with 
Italians and Germans close behind. The influx of Poles began about 
thirty-five years ago when the Plunkett mills induced a number of 
families to come directly from the old country. Their section along 
Summer Street, in the eastern part of town, is known as "Little 
Poland." The Polish Catholic Church on Wlodyka Square is sur- 
rounded by parochial school buildings and parish houses. Stores and 
business concerns on Summer Street are now owned principally by 
Poles. Second and third generations seem less content than their 
fathers with a mill worker's lot; they take to farming, small business 
enterprises, the professions, or else migrate out of town. 

Adams has ten thousand inhabitants either of foreign stock or of 
mixed parentage, almost eighty-five per cent of the total population. 
The French and Polish have the strongest tendency to keep their 
identity and language. Germans, who live largely in Zylonite and on 
North Summer Street, are of an older immigrant stock and have been 
assimilated almost completely, though they still keep alive their native 
culture through their club the Turnverein, open to all races and 
creeds. It provides classes in music, German dramatics, and athletics 
for young and old. The town, preponderantly Roman Catholic, has 
an English-speaking congregation of this faith in St. Thomas Church, 
French in Notre Dame, and Polish in St. Stanislaus. 

In 1899 President McKinley paid a visit to William B. Plunkett, 
and laid the cornerstone of Mill No. 4, at that time the most imposing 
of the Plunkett buildings. Adams residents admired McKinley, and 
gave him a rousing reception when he came to town. After his 
assassination in 1901, a statue was erected to his memory on Park 
Street (Mass 8), fronting the Ubrary, in what has since been named 

Although the first Quaker meetinghouse, built in 1781, was de- 
stroyed by fire, a second, which dates from 1784, is still standing. To 
visit it take Maple Street out of McKinley Square and follow the hill 
past the sign "Thunderbolt Ski Trails," to the crest where the gaunt. 

In the Valley of the Hoosic 271 

weatherbeaten building stands surrounded by a burial ground. The 
interior is essentially the same as it was a century and a half ago. 
Each year, on the first Sunday following Labor Day, descendants of 
Berkshire Quakers gather there for a service. According to old custom, 
the congregation sat "Quaker fashion," the women on one side of 
the room and the men on the other, a discontinued practice. 

The Society of Friends in Adams seems to have reached its peak 
of prosperity about 1830, before a schism developed and the Society 
split into two groups. Orthodox and Hicksites. While one party 
worshiped in the meetinghouse on Sunday and Wednesday morn- 
ings, the other took its turn in the afternoon; but the new wing of 
the Society gradually declined in numbers, and by the 1850's all but 
a few had moved into New York State. 

One story about this staunch, thrifty sect concerns a Quakeress 
with a natural antagonism for canines, who was forced to endure 
the presence of her husband's dog, since he needed the animal to 
herd his cattle. 

"Oh, if thee would only sell or shoot the pesky creature!" she was 
constantly nagging her spouse. When she returned home from a 
neighbor's one evening and was greeted by the news that the offending 
beast had been sold, she was more than delighted. 

"What did thee receive for the brute?" she questioned her Quaker 

"Ah, good news, good news, Susan," he responded, "I sold the 
dog for twenty dollars." 

"Thee did? Then I am happy indeed, for thee made a great profit. 
The miserable cur was not worth twenty cents," she told him with 
approval, hastily adding, "Did thee get thy pay?" 

"Right I did," replied her husband heartily; "I took two other 
dogs at ten dollars apiece." 

Susan B. Anthony, the pioneer for "woman's rights," probably 
attended service in the Quaker Meetinghouse! She was born in Adams 
in 1820 and even before her family moved to New York, when she 
was six years old, Susan was known for her scholastic brilliance. At 
the age of three she could read and spell, and at five she gravely 
requested the village schoolmaster to teach her long division. "Tut, 
tut, Susan, does thee not know that is a subject only for males?" 
Susan might not have known at the time, but she was to discover 

272 The Berkshire Hills 

soon enough that a variety of benefits, from long division to the 
franchise, were denied her sex. AboHtionist and teetotaler, she is best 
remembered for her efforts in behalf of woman suffrage, to which 
she devoted her lifetime. In 1899, while a delegate to the International 
Congress of Women in London, Susan Anthony was presented to 
Queen Victoria. 

The birthplace of this famous suffragist is a shrine to those women 
who have struggled for political and legal equality. She, more than 
any other, helped to wipe away the marks of an inferior social status. 
The house, built by Susan's father in 1810 and now the property of 
ated at Bo wen's Corners; it is a clapboarded, two-story, cream<olored 
structure with two end chimneys. To see it, take East Hoosac Street, 
which runs from McKinley Square between the mills of the Berkshire 
Cotton Company to the junction with East Road, where you turn 
right. About two-thirds of a mile beyond, at Bowen's Corner, is the 
house, marked "SUSAN B. ANTHONY BIRTHPLACE. Feb. 
15, 1820." 

There is no rational explanation as to why a certain locality in 
the south part of Adams should in other days have been nicknamed 
Poordunk. Possibly it was a refuge for the outcasts and bohemians of 
the time; at any rate, Poordunk is celebrated in a doleful set of verses 
that came to light in an Adams attic: 

Up in Poordunk where the thistle 

Blooms, dies and rots; 
Where the winter whirlwinds whisde 

All around the lots. 

Lived the slickest girl you ever 

Saw in your life, 
Ankle like a blue beech lever. 

Voice like a fife. 

As I sat by her a-courtin', 

Calm and serene, 
With her apron she was sportin', 

Checkered and clean; 

Mingled was our hands together, 

All day we sat 
Whisperin' in winter weather, 

Happy as fat. 

In the Valley of the Hoosic 273 

Long I stuck to her like teasles, 

Summer and fall; 
But she went off with the measles, 

Ankle and all. 

The BROWNE HOMESTEAD on Orchard Street stands with its 
back to Greylock, a mile and a half from the traffic beacon in Adams 
Center on Mass 116. Built in 1778 by Eleazar Browne, one of the 
earliest settlers of the town, it now houses a fine collection of antiques, 
among them a painting of John Browne, first boy born in Adams. 

There is no reason why the Browne Homestead or any other 
landmark, however hallowed, should turn its back to Greylock, unless 
Eleazar Browne grew weary of the view. If he did, then history places 
him in a minority; Hawthorne, Thoreau, Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
and Washington Gladden, once preacher at North Adams, and scores 
of others have waxed rhetorical on the subject of Grey lock's grandeur. 
The author of Walden has left a rhapsodic account of the spectacle 
of daybreak seen from the mountain's summit, when he seemed to 
find himself "in the dazzling halls of Aurora, drifting among the 
saffron-colored clouds and playing with the rosy fingers of the Dawn." 

Thoreau saw this sunrise after a long hiking trip over the Hoosac 
Mountains by the Mohawk Trail, through North Adams, and up the 
notch to the peak : 

I was up early and I perched upon the top of the tower to see day 
break. As the light increased I discovered around me an ocean of mist 
which reached up by chance exacdy to the base of the tower, and shut 
out every vestige of the earth; while I was left floating on this fragment 
of the wreck of the world, on my carved plank in cloudland, a situation 
which required no aid from the imagination to render impressive. 

As the light in the east steadily increased, it revealed to me more 
clearly the new world into which I had risen in the night; the new terra 
firma perhaps of my future life. There was not a crevice left through 
which the trivial places we name Massachusetts, Vermont and New York 
could be seen; while I still inhaled the clear atmosphere of a July morning 
— if it was still July there. All around me was spread for a hundred miles 
on every side, as far as the eye could reach, an undulating country of 
clouds, answering in the varied swell of its surface to the terrestrial world 
it veiled. It was such a country as we might see in dreams with all the 
delights of Paradise. There were immense snowy pastures, apparendy 
smooth-shaven and firm, and shady vales between the vaporous moun- 
tains; and far in the horizon I could see some misty timber jutted into 

274 The Berkshire Hills 

the prairie, and trace the windings of a watercourse, some unimagined 
Amazon of Orinoco, by the misty trees on its brink. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne traveled by stagecoach from Pittsfield to 
North Adams in 1835, and gave a somewhat more literal description 
of Greylock in his American Notebooks. 

... I pointed to a hill at some distance before us, and asked what it 
was. "That, sir," said he, "is a very high hill. It is known by the name of 
Greylock." He seemed to feel that this was a more poetical epithet than 
Saddleback, which is a more usual name for it. Greylock, or Saddleback, 
is quite a respectable mountain; and I suppose the former name has been 
given to it because it often has a gray cloud, or lock of gray mist, upon its 
head; it does not ascend into a peak, but heaves up a round ball, and has 
supporting ridges on each side. Its summit is not bare, like that of Mount 
Washington, but covered with forests. The driver said that several years 
since the students of Williams College erected a building for an observa- 
tory on the top of this mountain, and employed him to haul the materials 
for constructing it; and he was the only man who had ever driven an 
ox-team up Greylock. It was necessary to drive the team round and round, 
in ascending. 

Hawthorne's Notebooks contain repeated references to the locality. 
At another time he records: 

August 22nd. — I walked out into what is called the Notch this fore- 
noon, between Saddle Mountain and another. There are good farms in this 
Notch, although the ground is considerably elevated — this morning, 
indeed, above the clouds; for I penetrated through one in reaching the 
higher region, although I found sunshine there. Greylock was hidden 
in clouds, and the rest of Saddle Mountain had one partially wreathed 
about it; but it was withdrawn before long. I never saw more beautiful 
cloud scenery. The clouds lay on the breast of the mountain, dense, white, 
well-defined clouds, and some of them were in such close vicinity that 
it seemed as if I could enfold myself in them; while others, belonging 
to the same fleet of clouds, were floating through the blue sky above . . . 

The BEACON, replacing the old wooden tower on Greylock's 
summit, was erected and dedicated by the Governor of Massachusetts 
in 1933. The building is cone-shaped, rising from a circular base whose 
diameter is 421 feet. Within are a marble-lined main room, the 
Memorial Chamber, and a long flight of stairs leading to window 
slits at the top, where the view overlooks the states of New York, 

In the Valley of the Hoosic 275 

Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts. From the western window 
you look out over the Taconics, and the roads to Bennington and the 
famous Monument there, and WiUiamstown and its college lying 
below. To the northwest the Adirondacks, and to the south the Cats- 
kills; directly below to the east in the Hoosac Valley lies Adams, 
with the Hoosac Mountains beyond. Southward, on the slope of 
Greylock's sister peak. Saddle Ball (variously called Saddleback and 
Saddle Bag), is the village of New Ashford, and far to the northeast 
Mount Monadnock and Mount Washington in New Hampshire. 
Directly to the north are the Green Mountains of Vermont. 

The Beacon Light, blinding by night, has a tremendous flare 
visible for seventy miles. During the winter of 1937-1938 the stone 
Summit House, made of Quincy granite from the coast, was kept 
open for the benefit of hikers and skiing parties. Almost at the foot 
of the Beacon tower is the take-off of the Thunderbolt Ski Run. This 
is a great test even for experts; it circles the summit before descend- 
ing precipitously about a mile and, a half to the finish at the Thiel 
Farm in Adams. 

By auto, the summit of Greylock may be reached by the Rockwell 
Road from Lanesborough and New Ashford, or by the Notch Road 
from Adams which joins the new Notch Road from North Adams. 
There are also hiking trails from Adams, North Adams, and Wil- 

In 1901 the gold fever again rose high and the Greylock Mining 
and Milling Company was organized. Shares were sold to all comers 
— ten thousand of them at fifty cents a share. It was proposed that 
a shaft be sunk in the Notch on Greylock, and the gold in "them 
thar hills" was promised as a certainty to all investors. Although the 
futile venture cost shareholders five thousand dollars, undeterred resi- 
dents dug a thirty-foot hole in 1916. 

One seeker after riches found himself left with something far 
worse than poverty. 

"Can you tell me what this is?" the fellow asked a distinguished 
Boston chemist. He held out a box of mineral specimens. 

"Why, yes," replied the chemist lightly, "it's a box of iron pyrites." 

"Pyrites? Well, what's it worth?" 

"Oh, nothing, nothing at all," said the chemist, amused. 

276 The Ber\shire Hills 

"Nothing!" There was agony in the cry. "Nothing! But, God bless 
my soul, sir, there's a woman back in my town who owns a whole 
hill of this stuff!" 

"Well, you'd better warn her before she goes trying to mine it for 
gold. 'Fool's gold' is another name for iron pyrites, my friend," ob- 
served the expert. 

"Warn her?" the man groaned. "Why didn't someone warn me? 
I've gone and married her!" 













Berkshire County has excellent facilities for a number of summer 
and winter sports and at least limited opportunities for the enjoyment 
cf all major outdoor activities. On the following pages, detailed in- 
formation is arranged by town and alphabetically by subject. Accom- 
panying or near each town, is a map showing the location of the 
recreation areas and the roads leading to them. Local authorities, 
county organizations, and state departments were consulted as sources. 

The towns themselves follow the order adopted in the narrative 
section of the book. The combination of two particular recreation areas 
on one map has in some instances been arbitrarily imposed by the 
geographical outline of the townships; not every combination can be 
drawn within the limits of a book page. 

AQUATIC SPORTS have been developed on a number of the 
larger lakes and ponds, generally those in the central and south central 
sections of the county. In the northern hilly country the ponds, 
fewer, smaller, and less accessible, have not reached their fullest pos- 
sibilities. Public water systems, private shore ownership, and industrial 
practices have prevented public development of otherwise promising 
bodies of water. Boats can be rented at almost all the ponds, bathing 
facilities are continually being expanded, and on the larger lakes even 
yachting is possible. 

CAMP AND PICNIC AREAS have been laid out in almost all 
the State Forests and Reservations and a number of privately owned 
areas are scattered throughout the county, usually along the main 
highways. The State Department of Conservation follows a long- 
range program, each year opening new tent and trailer sites, fur- 
nished with adequate water supplies and sewer systems. The Civilian 
Conservation Corps has cleared brush and built roads to choice camp- 
ing and picknicking areas in the interior of the forests. Fireplaces 
and tables are usually found at picnic areas; a few cabins have been 
built at some of the camping grounds. 


28o The Berkshire Hills 

COUNTRY CLUBS of the finest and most exclusive type, as well 
as those for general public use, are found in all parts of the county. 
There are fifteen clubs, most of them self-supporting and on a non- 
profit basis. In compiling the information listed under the towns, 
questionnaires were sent to each club; such lack of uniformity as may 
appear is due to the incompleteness of replies. 

FISHING, with almost unUmited facilities, is one of the leading 
sports of the county. Within its bounds are 122 bodies of fresh water, 
ranging from small ponds to large lakes. Nearly a thousand brooks 
course down upland heights to empty into the thirteen rivers that flow 
east, south, and north out of the county. Almost all can be fished; 
the important ones are listed under the towns through which they 

Fish found in Berkshire waters are Brown Trout, Speckled Trout, 
Rainbow Trout, Small-mouthed Bass, Large-mouthed Bass, White 
Perch, Yellow Perch, Pike-Perch, Pickerel, Rock Bass, Crappies 
(CaHco Bass), Blue Gills, Horned Pout, and a few Grayling. Most 
of these fish are found in all parts of the county. Many ponds and 
streams are stocked by the State Department of Conservation, which, 
in this and other matters, cooperates with the seventeen local sports- 
men's clubs. 

Most of the clubs belong to the Berkshire County League of 
Sportsmen's Clubs, which in turn holds membership in the Council 
of Sportsmen's Clubs of Massachusetts, Inc. Some streams are posted 
by clubs, individuals, or public agencies. Inquiries as to the sections 
open to public fishing should be made at the clubs or to town officials 
or game wardens. The State Forests have special restrictions and are 
under the regulation of the State Department of Conservation. 

Fishing licenses and copies of fish and game laws may be obtained 
from town or city clerks or at the State House in Boston. The fee 
for a resident sporting license is $3.25, for resident fishing, $2, for 
resident minors between 15 and 18 and for women, $1.25, for non- 
resident sporting, $15.25, for non-resident fishing, $5.25, for non- 
resident minors between 15 and 18, $2.25. A special non-resident 
license good for three consecutive days between May 30 and Labor 
Day is issued for $1.50. No license is required for minors under 15 
or resident citizens over 70. Minors between 15 and 18 must have 

Berkshire Sports 


written consent of parent or guardian. Onota Lake and the Deerfield 
River are subject to special regulations, and fishing regulations in gen- 
eral are subject to yearly change. 



Daily Bag 


of Fish 

Open Season 



Yellow Perch 

Apr. 15 to Feb. 28 

30 in 24 hrs. 



Apr. 15 to July 31 


( i< <( 



Apr. 15 to Nov. 30 




May I to Feb. 28 



Pike Perch 

May I to Feb. 28 


< « « 


White Perch 

June I to Feb. 28 


( {< <i 


Horned Pout 

Apr. 15 to Feb. 28 


c « « 


Black Bass 

July I to Jan. 31 


< « « 


Note: All Fishing prohibited March i to April 14, inclusive. 


Opening Closing 

Forest Pond Date Date 

Beartown Benedict July i Sept. 30 

October Mt. Felton July i Sept. 30 

Otis Upper Spectacle July i Sept. 30 

Pittsfield Berry May i July 31 

Sandisfield York May i July 31 

Savoy Mt. North May i July 31 

The following rules are also enforced in State Forests. Canoes, 
boats, or floating devices can be used only on York Pond in the 
Sandisfield State Forest and South Pond in the Savoy Mountain State 
Forest. No outboard motors or motor boats are allowed on any of 
the ponds. The daily bag limit and minimum length of fish is to be 
the same as in the general laws except for daily bag limits, which 
are given in the following table: 

Trout 5 

Horned Pout 10 

Crappie 6 

Pickerel 5 

Small-mouth Black Bass 3 

282 The Berkshire Hills 

HUNTING is at its best in the less-populated sections o£ the 
county, but to some extent can be enjoyed in every town and city. 
The numerous posted areas must be respected; game sanctuaries and 
county reservations are closed to hunters. Special regulations are in 
force in State Forests and permits are required where the Civilian 
Conservation Corps is working. 

Contributing its share toward the preservation of excellent hunt- 
ing conditions, the Division of Fisheries and Game of the State 
Department of Conservation has for a number of years maintained a 
program of wild Hfe protection and propagation within State Forests 
and on other state-controlled property. The various sportsmen's organ- 
izations have also had an extensive interest in game distribution, 
and as a result of this combined effort, Berkshire holds forth unusual 
lure to the himter. Game birds and animals common to the county 
are: Ruffed Grouse, Pheasant, Woodcock, Rabbit, Raccoon, Wildcat, 
Fox, Deer, and occasional Canadian Lynx or Bear. There are some 
Otter and Mink in the southern part of the county. 

Hunting licenses and copies of game laws are issued by town 
and city clerks, or at the State House in Boston. The fee for a resident 
sporting license is $3.25, for resident hunting, $2, for non-resident 
sporting, $15.25, for non-resident hunting, $10.25. There is no charge 
for resident citizens over 70. Some of the important provisions in the 
game laws are: 

(i) Each year the holder of a sporting or hunting license must file a 
written report of the number and kind of birds or mammals taken 
during the preceding year. 

(2) The wounding or killing of a deer must be reported to the Di- 
rector of Fish and Game Division of the Department of Conserva- 
tion within 48 hours. 

(3) The open season on deer is one week, beginning the first Monday 
of December. 

(4) Daily closed season is from one-half hour after sunset to one-half 
hour before sunrise. 

(5) The bag limit for a deer is one. 

(6) Only shotguns or bows and arrows may be used for deer. 

ICE SPORTS are not as fully developed as skiing activities. A 
number of rinks in the larger towns and cities are cleared by local 
authorities; the ponds and lakes are likely to be covered with snow. 

Berl{shtr€ Sports 283 

It is possible to fish through the ice on all bodies of water not posted. 
Ice boating may be enjoyed when the larger lakes are clear of snow. 

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS are not a great problem 
to Berkshire County travelers. The territory is so compact that by 
automobile the county can be traversed in any direction in little more 
than an hour. Accommodations ranging from the private dwelling 
to the swankiest of hostelries offer true Berkshire hospitality. The 
American Youth Hostel, Inc., has several stations for its members. 
The Berkshire Hills Conference and the Automobile Club of Berk- 
shire County, both in Pittsfield, and the Southern Berkshire Chamber 
of Commerce of Great Barrington keep up-to-date Hsts of summer 
and winter accommodations. The list appearing under each town was 
compiled from material supplied by the Berkshire Hills Conference. 
The asterisk (*) indicates houses of)en for the summer only; the 
number in parenthesis refers to the capacity of the houses. American 
Plan (A) and European Plan (E) are indicated where such informa- 
tion was available. The rates are likely to vary slightly from year to 
year, or between summer and winter seasons. 

STATE FORESTS, sixteen in number in Berkshire County, cover 
some 66,000 acres and have recreational developments for camping 
and picnicking, boating and bathing, fishing and hunting, and hiking 
and horseback riding. Trails to scenic points and waterfalls have been 
constructed by the State Department of Conservation and the Civilian 
Conservation Corps. Care must be taken to prevent forest fires, always 
a hazard in the woods. Each camping and picnic area has posted rules 
and regulations for guidance of visitors. In part, these regulations are: 

Adequate parking spaces, toilet facilities and drinking water have been 
provided on the principal recreation centers. 

Open-air fires allowed only in fireplaces provided for that purpose. 

Dogs and cats are prohibited, except that dogs accompanying tenting 
or trailer parties may be kept on leash. 

Lockers are provided in bathhouses for checking of clothing. The 
state is not responsible for loss or damage. 

Use of the above areas for private gain, solicitations, or advertisement is 

To partially cover the cost of maintenance of the supervised recreational 
areas, the following fees are charged: 

284 The Berkshire Hills 

Wee\ 48 hr. 


Three-room log cabins $20.00 $6.00 

One-room log cabins $15.00 $5.00 

Tenting and trailer sites $ 2.50 $ .50 per day 

Fireplace and table 25 2 hrs. 

Table without fireplace 152 hrs. 

Community fireplace i .00 2 hrs. 

Cabins are not available for a single night's use. These fees are col- 
lected by duly appointed agents of the department, who are equipped with 
identification badges, and who are required to give a receipt for all moneys 

Applications for the rental of cabins should be made directly to the 
supervisor of the forest where the cabins are located. 

The HIKING AND BRIDLE TRAILS of Berkshire County are 
such that no other section of Massachusetts can boast their equal. The 
hilly terrain, a multitude of old wood roads, and the Appalachian 
Trail, all lend themselves to walking and horseback riding. There has 
been active interest among the outdoor-minded citizenry of this 
western county of Massachusetts in the development of trails. The 
Civilian Conservation Corps, under the able direction of the National 
Park Service and the U. S. Forestry Service, has contributed its share 
of labor and forethought to make the most of the hiking trails for 
the khaki-clad, knapsack-bearing sportsman. 

In the compilation of trail material, reference is given only to the 
principal or best-known trails. Others come under the classification 
of walks about town, many of which are picturesque and beautiful, 
leading through woodland and mossy glen or over the rougher terrain 
of hillside slopes. All the trails or walks offer the hiker a glimpse o£ 
the scenic beauties of Berkshire. 

SKIING is fast becoming as important to Berkshire County as 
summer recreational activities. From the snowy reaches of Mt. Everett 
to the steep slopes of Mt. Greylock, thousands annually enjoy the 
fast downhill ski runs and the long cross-country trails. Skiing, snow- 
shoeing, and tobogganing are available on private and public develop- 
ments in almost all parts of the county. Overnight accommodations 
and meals may be had within a short distance of all areas, and trans- 

Berkshire Sports 285 

portation from towns is provided to the more important centers. If 
the weather conditions are favorable, weekly snow trains are run from 
New York and Boston. State and county highways are kept open to 
all areas. 

The Berkshire Hills Conference and the New England Council 
publish annual ski bulletins listing new developments. Weekly re- 
ports of snow conditions appear in metropolitan papers. The novice 
skier should remember that one snowfall does not make downhill 
skiing safe. It only helps form the necessary base indicated in the 
figures given in the text. 

The State Department of Conservation has published regulations 
governing the use of State Forests for winter sports. A few of these 
apply in general to all these areas: 

Persons using State Forests for winter sports do so at their own risk. 

To prevent unnecessary damage to the surface of the snow and to 
promote safety, persons ascending a ski trail should keep to the side of 
the trail, giving downhiU runners the right of way. After a spUl a skier 
should get out of the way of downcoming runners, and at the cry "Track!" 
all skiers should move to the side of the trail to give the faster runners 
sufficient room to pass. 

The leaving of clothing or anything else on ski trails is prohibited for 
the protection of downhill runners 

North Pond: In SW. corner of town, has a bathing beach on E. side; 
other developments are planned. 


The Mohawk Trail State Forest: On Mass 2, near the Florida-Charle- 
mont Town Line, has three picnic grounds with fireplaces and tables 
and, within a half-mile radius, three camping areas and three log cabins. 
Rentals at nominal fees may be arranged through the State Forester; 
cooking utensils and bedding are not provided. 

Whitcomb Summit: Adjacent to Mass 2, is a privately owned picnic and 
tourist area with benches, tables and cabins. Small fees charged. 

Bog Brook (Brook Trout): Runs from Bog Pond, Savoy, into Cold 
River near the Town Line. 


The Berkshire Hills 

Carlcy or Whitcomb Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. into the Deer- 
field River at Hoosac Tunnel. 

Cold River (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): Flows SE. into Savoy 
Mt. State Forest and then N. into Charlemont. 

I -Lcoend- 

Secondary Roads. 

^_^ , . FooHrall .----. 

' |6r,dleTrall -8T-- 

'^ I J. I Forest Area., 

/ ^%??;;^; 6«ach.. 

' ^ ^ JFishin,^ 

I Hunt inq A 

Picnic A( ea. 


jcdie .n U.Ui 

federal )Vr//?rj 'Project 


Deerfield River (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): Forms the E. 
boundary of the town and flows in an irregular N. to S. course. 
Dunbar Brook (Brook Trout): In the extreme NE. section of town, 
flows NE. into Deerfield River. 

Berkshire Sports 287 

Fife Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. through the town into Deerfield 


Granger Brook (Part of Dunbar Brook; Brook Trout): In N. section of 

town flows E. into Monroe. 

Hunt Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. into Fife Brook. 

Manning Brook (Stocked): Flows S. into the Cold River in the Mohawk 

Trail State Forest. 

North Pond (Brook Trout and Pond Fish): In the Savoy Mt. State 

Forest, SW. corner of town, near the Savoy Line. 

Smith Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. from the Monroe Town Line 

into Deerfield River. 

Tower or Paddleford Brook (Brook Trout): In SW. section of town 

flows E. into Cold River. 

Wheeler Brook (Brook Trout): Runs S. into Cold River in the Mohawk 

Trail State Forest. 


A splendid game area. Deer, rabbits, and birds in well-stocked covers. 


Mohawk Trail Hill: Located at Whitcomb Summit (alt. 2000) near the 
Elk Statue on the Mohawk Trail (Mass 2). Class, novice-intermediate. 
There are no steep slopes. Skiing is often possible when there is none 
in the valley below. 

Mohawk Trail State Forest (5746 acres): Located in the towns of 
Charlemont, Hawley, Savoy and Florida, along the Mohawk Trail 
(Mass 2) from which the forest derives its name. Some of the finest 
scenery in the State is located along that part of the Trail within the 
State Forest bounds. Five hundred acres have been set aside for recrea- 
tional purposes, divided into three picnic areas along Cold River. Facili- 
ties include 105 tables, 50 fireplaces (on picnic grounds), and 100 tent 
sites, 6 trailer sites, two 3-room cabins, and two i-room cabins along 
Cold River. Both Deerfield and Cold Rivers have been stocked with 
Brown, Rainbow and Brook Trout. 

Monroe State Forest (4237 acres): In Monroe, Rowe, and Florida, is 
largely undeveloped for recreation. It has excellent panoramic views of 
the Deerfield River Valley. 
Savoy Mountain State Forest {see Savoy). 


Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail: Enters Florida from Savoy near 
North Pond in Savoy Mt. State Forest. Near the C.C.C. camp the 
Trail, which follows an old road, turns E. The Trail passes through the 

288 The Berkshire Hills 

village of Drury, crosses Mass 2 and descends sharply to the Deerfield 
River at the Florida-Rowe Town Line. 

N.Y.A. Trails: There are two N.Y.A, Trails, both starting in the Savoy 
Mountain State Forest W. of North Pond. One runs SW. into Adams, 
to the end of East Hoosac St.; the other, S. into Savoy, past North and 
South Ponds, to a junction with Mass 116. 

An American Youth Hostel is maintained in Drury by Mr. and Mrs. 
George S. Brown. 



Clarksburg Reservoir: In N. central section of town, near Mass 8 has 
bathing beach and bath house. 


North Adams Country Club (9 holes, ^000 yds.; green fees: accom- 
panied by member $1, unaccompanied $1.50; 2 tennis courts'). Annual 
invitation tournament held in August. Invitation by club steward or 


Beaver Creek or Reservoir Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. and then 

NE. through town into Clarksburg Reservoir. 

Clarksburg Reservoir (Pond Fish): In N. central section of town near 

Mass 8. 

Hoosic River, North Branch (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): 

Flows S. from the Vermont State Line into North Adams where it 

joins South Branch Hoosic River. 

Hudson Brook (Brook Trout): Runs SE. from Vermont into North 

Branch of Hoosic River, in North Adams. 

Deer, rabbits, partridges, and other game in wooded areas. 

Clarksburg State Forest: (2801 acres) Located in western end of town; 
accessible by foot trail only, no developed recreational areas. 

Appalachian Trail: Enters from North Adams (see North Adams) at 
78.9 m. and passes through the Clarksburg State Forest. The Pine 
Cobble Trail from Williamstown is crossed at 79.4 m. The Trail ascends 

Berkshire Sports 


290 The Berkshire Hills 

. to the summit of a ridge at 80.2 m. At 80.7 m. is Eph's Lookout and the 
junction (L) with the Eph's Lookout Trail of the Williams Outing 
Club {see Williams to tun). The Trail proceeds N. to the Vermont State 
Line. 8L5 m. where it joins the Long Trail of Vermont. 



Windsor Lake: In the N. central section has bathing beach, diving 
tower, life guard (during July and August), and boating facilities. 


Greylock State Reservation {see Adams). 


North Adams Country Club {see Clarksburg). 


Notch or Cascade Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NE. from the Bellows 

Pipe, enters Notch Brook Reservoir, and continues over cascades into 

Hoosic River. 

Windsor Lake (Pond Fish): Located E. of Mass 8, about 1 m. SE. of 



Excellent game covers in the surrounding hills. Good area for deer, 
partridge, pheasants, and rabbits. Some bear hunting. 

Blue Spruce (i8): rates (E), $i. 
Clum's Tourist Home (15): rates (E.), $1. 
Elm Manor (18): 521 West Main St., rates (E), $1. 
Gray-Rocks Rest (A-E): Mass 2. 
Hairpin Turn Inn (72; E): Mohawk Trail. 
Hilltop (10): rates (E), $1. 
*Lefavors Beach: Windsor Lake, furnished cottages, rates $io-$20 per 

Maple Shade (18): rates (E), $1. 
Richmond Hotel (400): rates (E), $1.50 and up. 
The Saxton (15): rates (E), $1. 
Wellington Hotel (400): rates (E), $1.50 and up. 


Bernard's Hill: Located on Bernard's Farm, off Notch Rd., 2.5 m. SW. 

of North Adams. All classes; Len., 1800'; Wid., 25'-ioo'; V. D., 325'; 

Berl(skire Sports 291 

M. G., about 25°; Exp., NE. This hill is maintained by the North 

Adams Ski Club. It is a semi-open slope with a very wide trail running 

down the middle. 

Grcylock State Reservation Trails: (see Adams). 

Notch Road: Runs from Mass 2, W. of N. Adams to summit of Mt. 

Greylock. Class, novice; Len., 6.9 m.; Wid., 2^'-^o'; V. D., 2^00'; M. G., 

60°; Exp., NW. and E. 

Savoy Moimtain State Forest (see Savoy). 
Greylock State Reservation (see Adams). 

Appalachian Trail: Enters North Adams from Adams at about 73.6 m. 
and ascends to the summit of Mt. Williams (alt. 3000'), 74.4 m. The 
Trail descends W. to Wilbur's Clearing and a junction with the 
Honey Brook Trail (see Williamstoum). At 75.7 m. is the junction 
with the Mt. Prospect Trail which runs L. to the summit of Mt. 
Prospect (alt. 2640'). The Trail swings N. with the valley of Paul 
Brook to the right as the Trail descends and leaves the Greylock 
State Reservation at 76.6 m. 

The Trail follows a number of old roads, crosses Mass 2 and the 
Hoosic River, turns L. on Massachusetts Ave. at 77.8 m. and R. from 
Massachusetts Ave. on Wood St. at 78.3 m. At 78.7 m. is the village of 
Blackinton. The Trail passes into the woods and enters the town of 
Clarksburg (see Clarksburg), 78.9 m. 

Bellows Pipe Trail (Williams Outing Club; marked WOC): This Trail 
runs from Mt. Greylock (alt. 3505') through the Notch, continuing to 
Notch Rd. and thence to Mass 2. 



Taconic Camps (privately owned; fees charged): a picnic, camping, and 
recreation area at western junction of US 7 and Mass 2, near Taconic 

Taconic Golf Club (18 holes, 6600 yds.; green fees, $2 daily; visitors 
welcome): On South St., 0.2m. S. of Main St. Invitation tournament 
end of July. 


Birch Brook (Brook Trout): Flows E. from the NW. section of town 
into Burton Brook. 


The Berkshire Hills 




1 /-"- 















-Leecnd — 

U.S.Hi^Kwsy "^ Forest Area. 

SMtHiqdwa^ ^^ Fish.nq ♦< 

Secondafv Rondi. Oolf Club. 1 

AppolachiBn Trnil..— ^-Huntino A 

Foot Trail '^..-■, Picnic Area H 

Bridlf Trail. ... ---BT-- Skllnq ""^^ 



1 9 7 I li 


/e<^err>/ )Vr//ers ^firojerf 

Berkshire Sports 293 

Broad Brook (Brook Trout): Runs SW. from Vermont through NE. 
section of town into Hoosic River. 

Doctor Brook (Erook Trout): Flows N. from Hemlock Brook to Hoosic 
River at Ford Glen. 

Green River (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): Flows N. from New 
Ashford and joints West Branch Green River at South Williamstown. 
Green River, West Branch (Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout): Flows 
NE. and N. from Hancock into Green River at South Williamstown. 
Posted at intervals. 

Hemlock Brook (Brook Trout): Begins near the New York State Line 
in the NW. section of town, flows SE. to Taconic Park Reservoir and 
then N. into Doctor Brook. 

Hopper Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NW. from Greylock State Reser- 
vation, then N. into Green River. Posted at intervals. 
Roaring Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NW. from Greylock State Reser- 
vation into Green River. Posted at intervals. 


Good area for partridge, pheasant, rabbits, raccoon, deer, and European 
hare. Hunting forbidden in the Greylock State Reservation. 

Green River Inn (A-E): Mass 43. 
Hallcr Inn: rates (A), $4 per day. 
Old Brick Homestead (E): Green River Rd. 
Taconic Inn (25; E): 28 Hoxsey St. 
♦Taconic Trail Tourist Shop (7 cabins): Mass 2, rates (E), $1 per day. 
The Ehns Inn (18): 174 Main St., rates (A), $3 per day. 
Williams Inn (115): Mass 2, rates (A-E), $6 to $9 per day; $35 per 
week and up; winter season, $4 per day and up. 
The Willows: rates (A), $3 per day. 

Berlin Pass: Located on Berlin Mt., 4.3 m. W. of town, off Mass 2. 
Class, novice; Len., 18,480', 7920' continuous downhill; Wid., 8'- 12'; 
V.D., 1600'; M.G., 15°; Exp., E. and SE.; Snour, d" . A safe run fast 
enough to be interesting. 

Goodell Hollow: Located near the Greylock State Reservation, SW. of 
Greylock summit and reached by country road off US 7 7 m. S. of town. 
All classes. A private area open to members and guests of the Mt. 
Greylock Ski Club. 

Sheep Hill: Located on the W. side of Mass 2 and US 7 between the 
town and the start of the Taconic Trail. All classes; V .D., 500'; M.G., 
about 30°; Snow, 5". One of the best big slopes in the Berkshires. A 
ski tow, a ski jump for experts (jumps averaging 100' and over), and 

294 ^^^ Berkshire Hills 

a practice jump are maintained by the Williams Outing Club. There is 
another excellent slope directly opposite across Mass 2. 
Stony Ledge Ski Trail: Located in the Greylock State Reservation on 
the SW. shoulder of Mt. Greylock; reached from Sperry Rd. Class, 
intermediate; Len., 8448'; Wid., i5'-5o'; V.D., 1405'; M.G., 22°; Exp., 
W. & SW. {heavily wooded); Snow, 4". A fine intermediate trail with 
sporty turns. View from the top, looking toward the summit of Grey- 
lock a thousand feet above, and down into the Hopper fifteen hundred 
feet below, is one of the finest in the East. There is an excellent Adiron- 
dack shelter on the Trail. The New Ashford Rd. from US 7 to Mt. Grey- 
lock is plowed to the C.C.C. Camp. It is moderately steep and chains 
should be used. 

The Hopper: Located in the Greylock State Reservation, W. of the 
summit; approached from Mass 43. Class, upper section easy grade, 
novice class; lower section steep, narrow and dangerous, experts only; 
Len., 20,064'; ^^'^•' 6'-i2'; V.D., 2500'; M.G., 20°; Exp., W. Several 
cross-country trails from the floor of the Hopper. 


Greylock State Reservation in the SW. corner of the town has excellent 
recreation facilities {see Adams). 

Appalachian Trail: Enters a corner of town as it ascends Mt. Greylock 
on the Rockwell Rd. {see Adams) and passes through another corner as 
it skirts Mt. Prospect {see North Adams). 

Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail: Follows Mass 43 S. to junction 
with the Hopper Trail {see below), which it follows to the Sperry Rd. 
Left on this road to Rockwell Rd. and L. again to the Switchback. 
From this point the Trail cuts the SE. corner of town and the NE. 
corner of New Ashford into Cheshire {see Cheshire). 
Circular and Deer Hill Trails: Begin at the Mt. Greylock C.C.C. Camp 
on Sperry Rd. These trails extend in a circular direction from the 
C.C.C. Camp over the New Ashford Town Line and return. A Urailside 
shelter is located along Deer Hill Trail. 

Prospect Mt. Trail: Begins at Wilbur's Clearing and follows the Appa- 
lachian Trail for a short distance. It then branches off to the SW., 
continuing in that direction until the summit of Mt. Prospect (alt. 2647), 
is reached. Proceeding along the razor-backed edge of Mt. Prospect, 
the trail swings E., joining the Money Brook Trail {see below) near 
the trailside shelter. A branch trail runs E. to Mass 43. 
Roaring Brook Trail: Originates at Goodell Hollow (on US 7), near 
the New Ashford- Williamstown Line. Ascending E. along an old ox 
road, the trail passes through one of the oldest stands of virgin timber 
in Massachusetts, ending at the Mt. Greylock C.C.C. Camp. 
Williams Outing Club Trails (marked WOC): 

Berkshire Sports 295 

Beebe^s Hollow Trail: Runs S. from Berlin Mt. and descends the 
ridge to the valley of Sweet Brook. 

Berlin Mt. Trail: Begins near the bottom of the Taconic Trail (Mass 
2) about 4.3 m. W. of town and runs SW, through heavily wooded 
country to the summit of Berlin Mt. in New York State. 
Berlin Pass Trail: Begins at the same place as the Berlin Mt. Trail 
and runs directly W. to a junction with the Taconic Ridge Trail at 
the top of the Taconic Range. 

Broad Brook Trail: Begins in the White Oaks section of town and 
runs in a NE. direction following the course of Broad Brook. It ends 
at the Stamford County Rd. over the State Line in Vermont, a 
distance of about 4 m. 

Dome Trail: Begins with the Broad Brook Trail, crosses Broad Brook 
on the main road and then swings NE. through the woods to the 
Dome (alt. 2754). This Vermont mountain provides an excellent 
view of the Greylock Range to the south and the Taconic Range 
to the west. 

Eph's Lookout Trail: Runs E. from Clark Trail to the summit of a 
range on the Clarksburg Town Line in Clarksburg State Forest, join- 
ing the Appalachian Trail there. 

Flora Glen Trail: Runs through the valley lying between Bee and 
Sheep hills W. of US 7. 

Hopkins Trail: Runs W. from town following the course of Birch 
Brook and then ascending to the top of the Taconic Range. 
Hopper Trail: Originates at the end of the macadamized road off 
Mass 43 about 2.4 m. S. of town, at the mouth of the Hopper. 
The trail follows a steep ascent along the S. bank of Hopper Brook 
and rises high above it. At the Mt. Greylock C.C.C. Camp, the trail 
turns E. and ends at the Switchback, there joining with the Rockwell 
Motor Rd. to the summit of Greylock. 

Money Brook Trail: Originates at the beginning of the Hopper Trail 
{see above). The trail ascends E. from Hopper Brook and parallels 
Money Brook, continuing until it reaches a point about 200 yards 
beyond the junction of Hopper and Money Brooks. It then veers 
N. crossing and recrossing Money Brook. Just north of the third 
crossing, there is a trailside shelter and fireplace. Beyond, the Prospect 
Mt. Trail {see above) enters from the W. Money Brook Trail con- 
tinues in a northerly direction, veers E., then N., finally ending at 
the junction with the Appalachian Trail at Wilbur's Clearing. A 
branch ends at Money Brook Falls. 

Pine Cobble Trail: Runs E. from town to the summit of a mountain 
in the Clarksburg State Forest near the Williamstown-Clarksburg 
Town Line. This trail joins with the Appalachian Trail. There is an 
excellent view of Williamstown from Pine Cobble. 

296 The Berkshire Hills 

Stone Hill Circle Trail: Begins from South St., about 0.5 m. beyond 
the Taconic Golf Club. The trail encircles Stone Hill and provides 
one of the most pleasant walks in town. 

Taconic Ridge Trail: Runs N. from the summit of Berlin Mt. along 
the top of the Taconic Range. The trail passes the Snow Hole and 
Carter Point which provides an unobstructed view of the Hoosic 
River Valley, and ends at North Petersburg, N. Y. The Snow Hole 
is 35' deep. 

Williams Caves Trail: Begins in the NW. section of town near the 
Vermont State Line and runs W. to Tri-State corner (where Massa- 
chusetts, New York, and Vermont meet) and then passes the Wil- 
liams Caves. The caves can be explored for more than 100'. This 
trail joins the Taconic Range Trail. 



A Picnic Area is adjacent to US 7, about midway between the village 
and the Williamstown Line. 

Green River (Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout): Flows S. to N., 
adjacent to US 7, to Williamstown. 

Green River East Branch (Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout): Runs 
N. from S. central section to join the Green River at the N. end of 

Mitchell Brook (Brown Trout): Flows W. from Saddle Ball Mt. into 
East Branch Green River. 

Thompson Brook (Brook Trout): Flows E. into the East Branch Green 
River near the Williamstown Line. 


Hunting is confined to a limited area of land, the rest is posted. Deer, 
rabbits, fox, wildcat, raccoons, and game birds abound. 


Boycc's Tourist Home (15; A). 
*Mill-on-the-Floss (E). 
*The Springs (E). 
*Swedish Coffee and Tea Room (25; E). 

Twin Brook Tourist Lodge (E). 

Mt. Greylock Ski Club Night Hill: Located on US 7, 0.5 m. N. of the 

center and directly opposite the New Ashford Rd. to Mt. Greylock. 

Berkshire Sports 


— Lecend — 

US-Hl^UaJ; -^ 

State H pqliway. ^3)" 

Sccondarv Roads... ■ 
Appalachian Trail..— ^- 

Foot Trail -'-».--% 

ridic Trail — bt— 

Forest Area aaiiiia 

Deacn —" 

CampArea A 

rijfiinq. ♦< 

6olf cruL.„ ^ 

Huntin(^ A 



" h/T'lpM/ ITnifir.r Prn.ifir^ 

298 The Berkshire Hills 

All classes. It is a small slope, steep, yet smooth and well sheltered. 

The hill is not permanently lighted but can easily be illuminated by 
automobile headlights or portable lights. There is a small practice 
jump located above the hill. 

Winter Road to Greylock (New Ashford Rd.): Runs E, from US 7, 

opposite Night Hill, to Rockwell Rd. Used as a ski trail. Open to 
automobiles (chains necessary). 

Greylock State Reservation (see Adams). 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from Cheshire (see Cheshire) at 68.7 m. 
as the Trail tops Jones' Nose. The Trail continues N., crosses the 
summit of Saddle Ball (alt. 3300') at 69.5 m., and continues at various 
elevations over brooks and spruce and fir bogs to Adams (see Adams) 
at 71 m. 

Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail: This Trail follows the Cheshire 
Harbor Trail (see Adams) and crosses the NE. section of town from 
Williamstown to Cheshire. There is a trailside shelter near the Cheshire 



Hoosac Lake (see Cheshire). 
Pontoosuc Lake (see Pitts field). 


Balance Rock Park: About 1 m. W. of US 7. Picnic area, fireplaces; no 
fees charged. 

State Tourist Park: On US 7, 2.5 m. N. of town center. Fireplaces, 
benches, tables, small wading pool, and trailer camp site; no charge for 
use of facilities. Town Brook flows by this area. 

Dainty Brook (Stocked): Flows W. into Town Brook. 
Desmond Brook (Stocked): Runs from a point near the Pittsfield City 
Line into Hoosac Lake. 

Daniels Brook (Stocked): In the SW. section of town; flows SE. into 
Onota Lake in Pittsfield. 

Hoosac Lake (Pond Fish): In the E. section of town, near Mass 8; 
mostly in Cheshire. 
Keeler Brook (Stocked): Flows E. into Town Brook. 

Berkshire Sports 299 

Pettibone Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. from Cheshire* into Hoosac 


Sachem Brook (Stocked): Flows S. then E. into Pontoosuc Lake. 

Town Brook or Housatonic River (Stocked with Brook, Rainbow, and 

Speckled Trout): Flows S., paralleling US 7, into Pontoosuc Lake. 


Good game area for deer, rabbits, fox, wildcat, raccoon, pheasant, and 

Ice Boating, Ice Fishing, and Skating {see Pitts field). 

*Baker Cabins (120): rates (E), $1 per day and up. 

Cobblestone Lodge (14): rates (A), $2.50 per day or $18 per week and 

*Hillcrest Inn (80; A). 
*The Iris (8): rates (E), $1 per day. 

Josh Billings Place: rates (A), $2.50 per day. 
*Lake Shore Tourist Rest (10): On Pontoosuc Lake, rates (A), $16 per 


Lillie's Tourist Home (E). 

Maple Drive (6 rooms; 14 cabins): rates (E), $1 per day and up. 
*Mt. Greylock Tourist Home (5 cabins): rates (E), $1 per day. 

Rose Bank Cabins (26): rates (E), $1 per day. 

Simmon's Cottage (7): rates (E), $1.50 per day. 

Wachusett Farm (E). 
*West View Cabins (14; E). 

Brodie Mt. Ski Trails: A private development on E. slope of Brodie Mt. 

(alt. 2700) off US 7 near the New Ashford Town Line. Small admission 

fee charged. The trails are smooth and sheltered. 

Brodie Mt. Ski Trail: Class, novice (except when very fast); Len., 
5730'; Wid., 8'-2o'; V.D., 930'; M.G.. 14°; Exp., E.; Snoti^, 3". A 
smooth trail with interesting, tricky turns. The racing trail starts 
4500' below the tower on the summit; total descent, 1200'. 
Diamond Trail: A new, short, fast trail which starts at the finish of 
the Brodie Trail. There is also a small practice slope. 
Gold Ski Trail: Located 0.3 m. N. of Brodie Trail. Class, novice (in- 
termediate if steep ending is used); Len., about 1800'; Wid., i5'-25' 
to open slope; V.D., about 450'; M.G., 20° (30° with optional end- 
ing); Snow, 2". A smooth trail that joins with the Silver Ski Trail 
{see below) in a small open slope near the finish. Below this are 
two endings, one very steep, the other moderate. 

300 The Berkshire Hills 

Silver Ski Trail: Located N. of Brodie Mt. Trail near Gold Ski Trail. 
Class, novice-intermediate; Len., about 2040'; Wid., i5'-3o' to open 
slope; V.D., about 500' (joins Brodie Trail near halfway mark, 
giving total descent of about 960'); M.G., 20°-24° (30° -with op- 
tional ending); Exp., E.; Snow, 1" . 


Pittsfield State Forest {see Pitts field). 


Churchill Brook Trail: Follows the course of Churchill Brook from 
town through the Pittsfield State Forest. 
Pittsfield State Forest Trails {see Pittsfield). 


An American Youth Hostel is maintained by Mrs. W. A. Wilbur. 



Berry Pond: In the central section of the Pittsfield State Forest {see , 
Pittsfield). I 


Pittsfield State Forest: In the Berry Pond section are picnic benches, 
tables, and fireplaces. At S. end of pond is a camping area. Ample 
parking space. Directions: footpath from town {see Trails, below) or 
auto road from Pittsfield {see Pittsfield). 


Berry Pond (Brown Trout and Pond Fish): In the central section of 

the Pittsfield State Forest {see Pittsfield). 

East Creek or Kinderhook (Stocked): Flows S, along Mass 43 then W. 

to New York State. 

Green River, West Branch (Stocked): In the N. section of town, flows 

N. to join the Green River at S. Williamstown. 

Phelps Brook (Stocked): Runs E. from New York State Line into 

Pittsfield near West St. 


Excellent game area: deer, raccoon, rabbits, fox, wildcat, pheasant, and m 


Friendly Villa (30): rates, $16 to $18 per wk. 

Berkshire Sports 


North Section 



;- • STATE FOREST. /( 


U.S. Hie Way — ^ Camp Area A 

State Hiohway. -^ Fishing 

Secondary Roads... Huntinq 

Forest Area sas; Picnic Area.. 

Beach — Skiinq 




^ f T I I t 

6cdl« in MIUj 

federd/ J^n'/erj' Project 

302 The Berkshire Hills 

Pittsfield State Forest {see Pitts field). 

Beny Pond Trail: Extends from town to Berry Pond in Pittsfield State 

Tahgonlc Skyline Trail: Runs N.-S. over the ridge of mountains sepa- 
rating Hancock and Lanesborough. 



Berry Pond: In the Pittsfield State Forest. Bathing beach. 

Onota Lake: West of the center; reached by West St. and Burbank Blvd. 

Pleasure and fishing boats for rent at Burlingame's, Boynton's and 


Burbank Park: On Burbank Blvd., has bathing beaches (lifeguard), 

bath house, and lockers. 
Pontoosuc Lake: On US 7 on the Lanesborough Town Line. Shell racing 
("little three colleges" — Stanley Field Day), yachting (Comet class), 
and other aquatic features are held here. Fishing boats for hire at South 
Shore; outboard motor boats at north end of lake, 

Lakeview Beach and Lyons Beach: Bathing; no lockers, lifeguard, or 

bath house. No fee. 

Pontoosuc Park: Bath house (fee), diving tower, floats, lockers and 

picnic benches. 

Blue Anchor Boat Club: Boats, bathing, floats, diving tower, canoes. 

Fees charged. 

Y.M.C.A. Boat Club and Camp Merrill: Boating, bathing, canoeing 

facilities; cabins, lockers, and floats. Fees charged. 


Pittsfield State Forest: There are two picnic and camping areas in the 
State Forest; one with 25 tables and 25 fireplaces is located near the 
Cascade St. entrance and the other is at Berry Pond. Directions for 
reaching: (see State Forests, below). 

Pontoosuc Park: On the SE. shore of Pontoosuc Lake, at Hancock Rd., 
adjacent to US 7; has tables and bench for picnickers. 


Berkshire Hills Country Club (18 holes, 6486 yds.; green fees, $1.^0 
weekdays; $2 Sat., Sun., and holidays; visitors welcome): Located on 
Benedict Rd., 0.5 m. N. of Tyler St. Tournaments held in August and 


Berkshire Sports 


304 The Berkjhire Hills 

Pittsfield Country Club {18 holes, 6o8j yds.; green fees, $2.^0 daily; 
J tennis courts; introduction by member or Treasurer): On US 7, S. of 
center. Golf tournaments in July, August, and September. 
Pontoosuc Lake Country Club (^18 holes, 6010 yds.; green fees, $1 week- 
days; $1.^0 Sat., Sun.; visitors welcome): On Ridge St. off Hancock Rd. 


Bratde Brook (Stocked): Flows from the Dalton Town Line, in E. 

central section of city, into the Housatonic River NE. of Goodrich Pond. 

Daniels Brook (Trout): Runs SE. from Lanesborough into Onota Lake. 

Hawthorne Brook (Brook Trout; lower end open only during summer 

months, upper end closed year round): In the Pittsfield State Forest; 

flows from the Hancock Town Line SE. to Parker Brook. 

Jacoby Brook (Stocked): Flows SE. from junction of May and Phelps 

Brooks to West Branch Housatonic River. 

Lulu Brook (Stocked): In the Pittsfield State Forest; flows SE. into 

Onota Lake. 

Lulu Pond (Stocked): In the Pittsfield State Forest, W. of the Forest 

Administration Bldg. 

May Brook (Brown Trout): Flows SE. across West St. into Jacoby 

Brook, near the Hancock Town Line. 

Onota Lake: (Rainbow Trout, and Pond Fish): In the NW. section 

of city. 

Phelps Brook (Stocked): Flows SE. from Hancock Town Line into 

Jacoby Brook. 

Pontoosuc Lake (Rainbow and Brook Trout, Pond Fish): In the N. 

central section of city on Lanesborough Town Line. 

Richmond Pond (Brook Trout, Pond Fish): In the SE. section of city, 

on the Richmond Town Line. 

Sackett Brook (Stocked): In the SE. section of city. Flows W. from 

the Dalton Town Line into the Housatonic River. 

Unkamet Brook (Stocked): Flows S. from near the Lanesborough 

Town Line, parallels Mass 8, and empties into Housatonic River near 



Rabbits, grouse, pheasants, and deer on outskirts of city and in Pittsfield 
State Forest. 

Ice Boating: On Pontoosuc Lake. 
Ice Fishing: On Onota and Pontoosuc Lakes. 

Skating: On city rinks at Clapp Park, W. Housatonic St.; The Com- 
mon, First St.; Crane School Wading Pool, Dalton Ave.; Springside 
Park, Springside Ave.; Weller Ave. Playground, Weller Ave., and 

Berkshire Sports 305 

William Pitt Playground, Columbus Ave.; on Lake Pontoosuc, back 
of the Ferris Restaurant, 


- Abbott Lodge (15): 48 W. Housatonic St., rates (E), $1 per day. 
*Breezy Knoll Inn (125): Pontoosuc Lake, rates (A-E), $25 per week 

and up. 

Brookside (8): 538 South St., rates (E), $1 per day. 
*Camp Merrill (140): Pontoosuc Lake, rates (E), $5 per week per room. 

Clinton Hall. 

The Greymoor (E): 48 Appleton Ave. 

Hotel Allen (100): Wendell Ave. Extension, rates (E), $1.50 and up 

per day per room. 

Hotel Berkshire (70): 333 North St., rates (E), $1.50 and up per day 

per room. 

Hotel Wendell (650): South St., rates (E), $2 and up per day per room. 

Housatonic Hall (E): 7 W. Housatonic St. 
*Liberty Camps (35): US 20, rates (E), $1 per day. 

The Linden (8): 501 South St., rates (E), $1 per day. 

The Lodge (35): loi Wendell Ave., rates (A), $3 per day, $16.50 per 


Miss Mary Clark: 114 Wendell Ave. 

Mohawk Tourist Home: 47 W. Housatonic St., rates (E), |i per day. 

Mrs. Rose Cleary (20; E): 16 W. Housatonic St. 

Mrs. F. H. Francis (17): 202 South St., rates (E), $1 per day. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson (10): 511 South St., rates (E), $1 per day. 

Mrs. A. Kaliman (E): 523 South St. 

Mrs. A. H. Kilicas (E): 379 South St. 

Mrs. W. King (10): 508 South St., rates (E), $1 per day. 

Mrs. W. H. Korman (7): 533 South St., rates (E), $1 per day, 

Mrs. E. D. McCarthy (E): 19 Taconic St. 

Mrs. L. M. Viger (6): 40 George St., rates (E), $1 per day. 
*Pontoosuc Inn (E): 1307 North St. 

The Red Hen (20): 120 South St., rates (E), $1 per day. 

South Street Inn (100): 153 South St., rates (E), $2.50 per day and up. 
•Verona Cabins (20): US 20, rates (E), $1 per day. 

White Tree Inn (A-E): 41 Wendell Ave. 

Yokum Seat Mountain House (19): rates (A), $16 per week and up, 

Bosquet's Ski Grounds: One of the best developed ski areas in the 
Berkshires. It is a privately owned enterprise (small adm. fees) on 
Yokum Seat Mt., 2,5 m. SW, of city. Its facilities include 4 ski tows, 7 
trails, and 200 acres of open slopes — one electrically lighted by mercury 
vapor. Directions for reaching: S, from city on US 7 to South Mountain 
Rd.; E. on South Mountain Rd. to Tamarack Rd.; L. on this road. 

3o6 The Ber\shire Hills 

Bosquet's Ski Run: Class, intermediate-expert {but safe for all skiers 
u^ho 1{eep under control); Len., 2505'; Wid., 4o'-75'; V.D., 655'; 
M.G., 32°; Exf7., NE.; Snow, 5" (8" on upper part). This is an ex- 
ceptionally fast, sweeping run, steepest near the summit. Novices must 
keep off when the upper tow is operating. 

East Trail: Class, novice; Len., 3900'; Wid., 8'-i8'; V.D., 570'; M.G., 
i^°-iy°; Exp., N. and NE.; Snour, 5''. This trail is long and narrow 
but easy. From the base of the East Trail a cross-country trail extends 
for 3 m. to the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary in Lenox. 
Goose Neck Trail: Class, intermediate-expert; Len., 2800'; Wid., 15' 
to open slope; V.D., 600'; M.G., 18°; Exp., N.; Snow, 4"-6". An 
easy trail except for the last part. Optional endings at top of Russell 

Osceola Trail: Class, intermediate; Len., 3800'; Wid., 20'; V.D., 600'; 
M.G., 26°; Exp., N., NW.; Snow, ^"-6'\ This trail is fast, steep, and 

Parker Trail: Class, intermediate; Len., 4000'; Wid., 20' to open 
slopes; V.D., 600'; M.G., 22°; Exp., N., NE.; Snow, 6". 
Russell Trail: Class, novice; Len., 2385'; Wid., i8'-4o' to open slopes; 
V.D., 570'; M.G., 23°-25°; Exp., E., N.E.; Snow, 5". 
Yokum Trail: Class, intermediate; Len., 2715'; Wid., i8'-33'; V.D., 
570'; M.G., 20°; Exp., E., NE.; Snow, 4". This is a smooth, fast, 
and comparatively easy trail. However, it is extremely tricky in places 
and novices should keep off. 
Pittsfield State Forest: One of the leading winter sports areas in the 
Berkshires. In addition to facilities especially provided for skiing, there 
are many cross-country trails that have good downhill sections. A new 
log cabin, used as a warming and refreshment center, is located at the 
entrance to the Forest. It is available to clubs and large parties. Direc- 
tions for reaching: {see State Forests, below). 

Cross-Country Trail: Extends from the bottom of Ghost and Shadow 
Trails to Lulu Slope. The trail is almost level. It is interesting for a 
beautiful stand of hemlocks, and for the azaleas that fringe the trail. 
From it may be seen the cascades on Parker Brook. Len., /^it.^' . 
Ghost Trail: Located on the E. slope of Pine Mt. Class, intermediate; 
Len., 2640'; Wid., 25'-4o'; V.D., 682'; M.G., 22°; Exp., E., SE.; 
Snow, 4". A wide, smooth, and exceptionally fast trail. Connects with 
the Shadow Trail at the top and bottom. Has a shelter at the foot 
of the nin. 

Goodrich Hollow Trail: A cross-country trail from Berry Hill (alt. 
2200') to New York State. Len., in forest 3168'; Exp., NW., N.; 
Snow, 12". This trail is steep and rugged in places. 
Hawthorne Trail: A cross-country trail extending from a point near 
Cascade St., in the SE. section, to junction with Tower Mt. Trail, below 
Pine Mt. Len., 6336'; Exp., N., NE., E.; Snow, 10". Steep and hilly. 

Berkjhire Sports 


<r - , I , C^'npiJ*^ f.'an Map ^ 


/'fjf/tt/ Hi-l/frj'firo/fci 

Honwee Circuit Trail: A cross-country trail running from the Forest 
Administration Bldg. to Honwee Mt. (alt. 2450'). Len., 10,032'; 
Exp., N., NE., S., SE.; Snow, 12". Fairly steep. 
Lulu Brook Trail: A cross-country trail running N, from Forest Ad- 
ministration Bldg. along Lulu Brook to Lulu Swamp. Len., 8976'; 
Exp., S., SE.; Snow, 8". Easy grade. 

3o8 The Ber\shire Hills 

Lulu Cascade Open Slope: Located behind the old C.C.C. camp, SW. 
of Forest Administration Bldg. Class, novice; Len., 1584'; Wid., 
25'-20o'; V.D., 200'; M.G., 18°; Exp.. NE.; Snow. 4". A new turf 
slope with a variety of grades suitable for novices. 
North Branch Traih A cross-country trail which runs N. from Berry 
Pond Circuit Rd. to junction with Fire Trail. Len., 3696'; Exp.. NW., 
N.; Snour. 10". Steep and hilly. 

Parker Brook Trail: A cross-country trail running between Tilden 
Swamp and a point near the parking area in SE. section of the forest. 
Len., 10,032'; Exp.. N., NE.; Snow. 8". Fairly steep. 
Sackett Trail: A cross-country trail which runs in a NE. to SW. 
direction between Berry Pond and junction with Tahgonic Skyline 
Trail. Len.. 6864'; Exp.. N., NE.; Snow. 8". Steep in places. 
Shadow Trail: Located on the E. slope of Pine Mt. Class, interme- 
diate; Len.. 2640'; Wid., i2'-35'; V.D.. 680'; M.G., 17°; Exp.. E., 
SE.; Snow. 6". A winding trail that descends steadily. Meets the 
Ghost Trail at top and bottom. Both the Shadow and Ghost Trails 
are usable with the first snowfall. There is a cabin at the foot of 
the trail. 

Skyline Trail: A cross-country trail which runs in a general N.-S. 
direction through that portion of Hancock in the forest. Typical of 
most trails in the state forest areas, it is adaptable for snowshoeing, 
cross-country skiing and hiking. Tower Mt. (alt. 2185'), Berry Pond 
(the highest body of water in Mass., alt. 2150'), and Berry Hill (alt. 
2200'), are all points of interest along the trail. 

Tower Mt Trail: A cross-country trail running between Tower Mt. 
and junction with Hawthorne Trail, S. of Pine Mt. Len., 12,672'; 
Exp.. N., NE.; Snow, 10". Rugged and steep. 

Pittsfield State Forest (3850 acres): Located in Pittsfield, Hancock, and 
Lanesborough. Over 25 acres are devoted to recreation at Berry Pond, 
at the forest entrance, and at Lulu Cascade. Over 10 bridle and foot 
trails run through the forest. Many brooks have been stocked with 
trout. The forest is especially noted for its azalea display. Directions 
for reaching: W. from City Hall Park on West St. at 2.9 m. is the 
junction with Churchill St.; R. on Churchill St. to the junction with 
dirt road, 3.6 m.; L. on this road to junction with Cascade St., 3.9 m.; 
R. on Cascade St. to the forest, 5.2 m. 


Pittsfield State Forest 

Burgoyne, Colonial, or Churchill Trail (Foot or bridle trail, steep 
terrain): Begins in Lanesborough and runs W. through the forest 
and across the town of Hancock to Stephentown, N. Y. 

Berkshire Sports 309 

Goodrich Hollow or Otaneaque Trail (Foot trail, hilly terrain): Be- 
gins at the summit of Berry Hill, runs W. through Goodrich Hollow 
to New York State. 

Hawthorne Trail (Foot trail): Extends from a point near Cascade 
St., SE. corner of forest to junction with Tower Mt. Trail, E. of 
Pine Mt. 

Honwee Circuit Trail (Foot or bridle trail, steep terrain): Runs N. 
from the Forest Administration Bldg. to Honwee Mt. (alt. 2450) and 

Lulu Brook Trail (Foot trail, easy terrain): Runs N. from Forest 
Administration Bldg. along Lulu Brook to Lulu Swamp. 
North Branch Trail (Foot trail, steep and hilly): In central section 
of forest; extends between Berry Pond Circuit Rd. and the Azalea 

Parker Brook Trail (Foot trail, fairly steep): Runs between Tilden 
Swamp, where it joins with the Tower Mt. Trail, and the parking 
area near the forest entrance. Parallels Parker Brook. 
Sackett Trail (Foot or bridle trail, steep in places): Runs in a NE.- 
SW. direction between Berry Pond and junction with Tahgonic 
Skyline Trail. 

Sackett Road Trail (Foot or bridle trail, level terrain): Runs parallel 
to Lulu Brook Trail from Lulu Swamp to junction with Honwee 
Circuit Trail. 

Tahgonic Skyline Trail (Foot or bridle trail, steep and hilly): Runs 
N.-S. through the forest; is part of trail extending from Williams- 
town to New York State Line in Richmond. 

Turner Trail (Foot or bridle trail, fairly steep): Runs from S. end of 
Berry Pond Circuit Rd. to Berry Pond. 

Tower Mountain Trail (Foot or bridle trail, rugged terrain): Runs 
between Tower Mt. Trail and junction with Hawthorne Trail, S. of 
Pine Mt. 



Richmond Pond: Located on the Pittsfield City Line. Has boating 
facilities on the W. shore. 


Cone Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S. from central section of town into 
Shaker Mill Pond, West Stockbridge. 

Fairfield Brook (Brook Trout): In E. central section of town. Flows 
NW., then W. joining with Sleepy Hollow and Cone Brooks. 

310 The Berkshire Hills 

Furnace Brook (Brook Trout): In the SW, section, flows S. into Mud 
Pond, West Stockbridge. 

Richmond Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the NE, sec- 
tion of town, at the Richmond-Pittsfield boundary. 
Richmond Pond Brook (Brook Trout): In N. central section of town, 
flows E. into Richmond Pond. 

Sleepy Hollow Brook (Stocked): Flows SE. from Perry's Peak into 
Cone Brook. 


All small game and deer. 

*Penrhyn (27): rates (A-E), $25 to $35 per week. 


Crane Pond: In N. central section of town, W. of Mass 41; bathing and 
Shaker Mill Pond: Located NE. of town; boating at S. end. 

Alford Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S. into Alford. Posted. 
Baldwin Brook (Brook Trout): In NW. section; flows N. to State Line 

Cone Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SW. from Richmond into Shaker 
Mill Pond. 

Cranberry Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): A private pond 
on Mass 41, 0.5 m. W. of Shaker Mill Pond. 

Crane Pond (Pickerel, Perch, Horned Pout and Trout): In N. central 
section, W. of Mass 41. 

Furnace Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S. from Richmond into Mud 

Mud Pond (Brook Trout, Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): On 
Richmond Town Line, E. of Mass 41. 

Shaker Mill Pond (Brook and Brown Trout): At West Stockbridge 
Center on Mass 41. 

State Line Brook (Brook Trout): In extreme NW. corner of town, 
flows SE. from New York State into Shaker Mill Pond. 
Williams River (Stocked): Flows S. from West Stockbridge Center 
into Great Barrington. 


Good game covers for deer, raccoon, rabbits, fox, and game birds. 


Ber\shire Sports 


I jA.i< cj^^ ^ 

312 The Ber\shire Hills 


Card Lake Hotel (39): rates (A), $18 to $22.50 per week. 
*Hilltop (14): rates (A), $20 to $22 per week. 
Mrs. K. H. Hurley (7): rates (A), $15 per week. 



Lake Mahkeenac (Stockbridge Bowl): In N. central section of town; 
Town Beach on SE. shore; Cotter's Beach on NE. shore. Annual boat 
race for surruner residents. 


Stockbridge Golf Club {18 holes, 6140 yds.; green jees, $2 weekdays, 
$2.^0 Sat., Sun., and holidays; j tennis courts; introduction by member): 
Located in the center of town. The golf tournament held in July is said 
to be the oldest in the United States. 

Inter Lin's Golf Course (9 holes, 16^0 yds.; green jees j^^ daily; visitors 
welcome) : In center of town, near Heaton Hall. 


DufiEy Brook (Brook Trout): In central section of town, flows S. from 
Lake Mahkeenac into Housatonic River. 

Lake Mahkeenac (Pickerel, Perch, Crappies, Horned Pout, and Bass): 
In the N. central section of town off Mass 183. Also called Stockbridge 

Lilly Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S. from Lilly Pond into Lake Mah- 

Lilly Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In NE. corner of town 
near Lenox Line. 

Mohawk Lake (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In W. central 
section of town, near West Stockbridge Line. 

Muddy Brook (Brook Trout): Flows N. from Great Barrington into 
Housatonic River. 


Good area for deer, raccoon, rabbits, and game birds. 

Ice Boating: On Lake Mahkeenac. 
Ice Fishing: On Lake Mahkeenac. 

Skating: At Recreation Park on US 7 near the railroad station and on 
Lake Mahkeenac. 

Berkshire Sports 313 


The Band Box (8): rates (A), $18 to $20 per week. 

Corner House (12): Main St., rates (E), $1 per day. 

Cross Roads Lodge (15): rates (A), $4 per day and up. 

Denise Roy (7): rates (A), $3.50 per day. 

Ekn Lodge (10): rates (A), $4 per day, $18 per week. 

Elm Street Inn (E). 

Harrod's (20): rates (A), $4 per day and up. 
*Heaton Hall (150): rates (A), $6 per day and up. 

Hillcrest Farm (12): Prospect Hill, rates (A), $5 per day. 

The Laurel (15): rates (A), $4 per day and up. 

The Maples (25): Elm St., rates (A), $15 per week and up. 

The Martin (30): Main St., rates (A), $5 per day and up. 
*Oaklawn Inn (50): rates (A), $5 per day. 

Park View Home (30): Park St., rates (A), $18 per week. 
*Red Lion Inn (100): rates (A), $6 per day and up. 

Tracy Inn (6): Main St., rates (A), I4 per day. 

Village Tavern (11): rates (A), $4 per day and up. 

Cherry Bounce Ski Trails: Located aix)ut 3 m. NW. of the town center 
off Mass 102. The trails run N. from Cherry Bounce Lane to Echo 
Lake (Lake Averic). Class, novice; good cross-country trails. 
Practice Slope: Located on Inter Inn's Golf Course in front of Heaton 
Hall, 0.1 m. N. of the center. Excellent hill for novices. 
Rodgenski and Hopkins Slopes: Located SE. of the town at the end 
of Ice Glen Rd. Class, novice. 

Stockbridge Ski Club Night Hill: Located SE. of the center off Ice Glen 
Rd. A large, smooth hill that has lighting facilities for night skiing. 
M.G., 20°; Exp., N., W. Trails connect with Beartown State Forest 
Trails {see Lee). 


Beartown State Forest {see Monterey). 


Foot Trails (marked) lead from the center of town near the high school 
to Laurel Hill, Beartown State Forest, and Cherry Bounce Lane. 



Laurel Lake: On Lee Town Line {see Lee). 


Schermerhom Gorge: In the October Mt. State Forest {see Washing- 


The Berkshire Hills 

I I ( }L.M c^^ 

Berkshire Sports 315 

Crosby Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S. to Stockbridge and enters Lilly 

Laurel Lake (Rainbow Trout, Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In 
the S. section of town on the Lee Town Line, 

Roaring Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. from the October Mt, State 
Forest to the Housatonic River. 

Yokum Brook (Brook Trout): In NE. section of town flows E. into the 
Housatonic River. 

Cranwell School Golf Course, formerly Berkshire Hunt and Country 
Club {18 holes, 6410 yds.; green fees, $1 weekdays, $1.^0 Sat., Sun., and 
holidays; j tennis courts): Located on US 20, midway between Lenox 
and Lee. 

All small game and deer. 

Laurel Lake: {see Lee) 

*Curtis Hotel (170): rates (A-E), $6 per day and up. 
Elm Street Inn: rates (A), $3.50 per day. 
Hampton Terrace (8): rates (E), $1.50 per day and up. 
Mahanna Hotel (A). 
Old White House (10; A). 
St. Lawrence: rates (A), $4 per day. 
Stonewall Lodge (50): rates (A), $3 per day. 
Village Inn: rates (A), $4 per day. 


Crosby Ski Slope: Located E. of the center between US 7 and US 20. 
Len., 600'; Wid., 300'; M.G., 10°; Ski tow {small fee). Illuminated 
at night. 

October Mt. State Forest: A 14,189-acre reservation in Washington, 
Becket, Lee, and Lenox. Formerly a privately owned game preserve 
for moose, deer, elk, and buffalo. Several mountain roads good for 
novices. Several open slopes located near Lenoxdale. Near the New 
Lenox entrance are warm cabins and open-air fireplaces. 
Pleasant Valley Bird Sanctuary: Located on Cliffwood St., W. of US 7 
and about 2 m. from town. This 300-acre tract has a network of trails 
adaptable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. An extension of 
the Skyline Trail connects (N) with Bosquet's Ski Grounds in Pittsfield, 

3i6 The Ber\shire Hills 

and (S) with the Beartown State Forest in S. Lee. Has museum and 

October Mt. State Forest: {see Washington). 



Laurel Lake: On US 20 at the Lenox Town Line. Public bathing at 
Sandy Beach. Boats for rent. There is a private beach connected with 
the Laurel Lake House. 
Goose Pond: {see Tyringham). 


Schermerhom Gorge: In October Mt. State Forest {see Washington), 
has picnic benches, tables, and fireplaces. A marked road to this area 
leaves US 20 in East Lee. 


Greenock Country Club (9 holes, ^04^ yds.; green fees, $1 daily; j tennis 
courts; introduction by member): Located on the Stockbridge Rd. 0.5 m. 
W. of the center. Members' tournament held in August. 


Goose Pond (Pickerel, Perch, Horned Pout, and Bass): In SE. section 
of town on Tyringham Line. 

Greenwater Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. along US 20 into Housa- 
tonic River. 

Hop Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NW. from Tyringham into Housa- 
tonic River. 

Laurel Lake (Rainbow Trout, Bass, Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): 
In NW. section of town on Lenox Line. 

Mud Pond Brook (Brook Trout): Flows from Mud Pond into Green- 
water Brook. 

Upper Goose Pond (Stocked): On the Tyringham Town Line, S. of 
US 20. 

Washington Moimtain Brook (Brook Trout at lower end): Flows W. 
from October Mt. State Forest into Housatonic River. 
West Brook (Brook Trout): Flows N. from Beartown State Forest into 
Housatonic River. 


The wooded sections are well stocked with native game. 

Ber\shire Sports 


3i8 The Berkshire Hills 

Ice Boating: On Laurel Lake. 
Ice Fishing: On Laurel Lake. 

Skating: At Legion Park, on Mass 102, 1 m. E. of town; at the Cove, 
on the Housatonic River, 1 m. N. of town; and on Laurel Lake, 
on US 20. 


Auld Wayside Lodge (12): rates (A-E), $2.25 per day, $15 per week 

and up. 

Crow's Nest Lodge (22; A): South Lee. 
*East Lee Inn (A-E). 

Elmore Inn (14): rates $3 per day, $18 per week. 

Garfield House (14): rates (A), $3 per day. 

Golden Hill Rest (15): rates (A), $2.50 per day, $16 per week. 
*Greenock Inn (A-E). 
*Green water Lodge (A). 
*Kay's Kamp (25); Laurel St., for girls only, rates (A), $12 to $15 

per week. 
*Laurel Lake House (30): US 20, rates (A), $20 and up. 

The Morgan House (E). 

The Red Shutter (A). 
*Teresa Carleton Inn (15): rates (A), $18 per week. 

Willow Brook (20; A). 

Beartown State Forest: Has many miles of trails suitable for cross- 
country skiing and snowshoeing. A development designed especially to 
accommodate snow-train parties is located on Beartown Mt. (alt. 1865) 
at the S. Lee entrance to the forest. Trails end at the railroad station. 
Bear Mt. has a N. exposure and is thickly wooded. Directions for reach- 
ing: US 7 to Stockbridge; E. from Stockbridge on Mass 102 to S. Lee; 
or W. from US 20 at East Lee on Mass 102 to S. Lee. Parking space 
near station. 

Alternate Polar Trail: Swings to the E. of Polar Trail and provides 

an ending that eUminates the 24° straightway. Finishes on open 

slope. Class, intermediate; Len., 1000'; Wid., 2^'-/\o'; M.G., 15°; Exp., 

N.; Snou^, 4". 

Burgoyne Pass Trail: A cross-country trail extending from the bottom 

of Crow's Nest Trail to Stockbridge. Len., 7920'; Wid., io'-4o'; 

M.G., 10°; Diff. elev., 500'; Snow, 6". 

Crow's Nest Trail: Class, novice; Len., 2395'; Wid., 25'-5o'; V.D., 

350'; M.G., 20°; Exp., E.; Snow, 6". 

Grizzly Trail: Class, expert; Len., 2574'; Wid., 10^-40'; V.D., 656'; 

M.G., 30°; Exp., N.E.; Snow, (/' . This trail, completely sod-covered, 

runs parallel to the more difficult Kodiak Trail. 

Ber\shire Sports 319 

Kodiak Trail: Class, expert; Len., 2348'; Wid., io'-3o'; V.D., 608'; 

M.G., 30°; Exp., NE.; Snow, 6". A steep, difficult trail with a series 

of right-angle turns. 

Mt. Wilcox Rd. (unplowed): Runs from Beartown Rd. to the summit 

of Mt. Wilcox (alt. 2155). Len., 4 m.; Wid., 20'; Diff. elev., 552'; 

M.G., 6°; Snow, 4". A good cross-country ski and snowshoe trail. 

New Open Slope: Located W. of the Open Slope. Len., 800'; Wid., 

300'; M.G., 10°; Snow, 4". 

New Semi-Open Slope: Located W. of Open Slope. Len., 400'; Wid., 

1000'; Av. G., 8°; Snow, 4". 

Open Slope: Class, novice; Len., 500'; Wid., 800' (maximum): V.D., 

75'; M.G., 20°; Exp., N.E.; Snow, i^'-d" . A sheltered slope. 

Polar Trail: Class, intermediate; Len., 5407'; Wid., 3o'-ioo'; F.D., 

820'; M.G., 24°; Exp., N.E.; Snow, 6". An excellent trail which ends 

on W. side of open slope. Total length and descent is measured from 

summit to bottom of short novice trail below the open slope. 

Sedgewick Trail: Starts about halfway up Polar Trail and swings 

W. and N. to an ending near the railroad tracks. Class, intermediate; 

Len., 2000'; Wid., 25'-4o'; V.D., 300'; M.G., 15°; Exp., N.; Snow, 


Wildcat Trail: A cross-country trail extending from the Beartown 

Trails to the trails at the East Mt. State Forest (see Great Barrington). 

Len., II m.; Wid., io'-5o'; M.G., 25°; Diff. elev., 1200'; Snow, 8''. 

The trail is marked with red ball blazes. A new Adirondack shelter 

has been built halfway between the C.C.C. camp and Benedict 

Huckleberry Trail: A cross-country trail that begins on US 20 at East 
Lee and follows the abandoned trolley line over the hills through Becket, 
Ods, and Blandford into Huntington, Sections of this 30-mile trail are 
suitable for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. 
Old Shade Farm: Located on the hill road to Stockbridge, 1.5 m. W. 
of the center. Has 11 miles of forest bridle trails which are good for 
cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Horses for ski-joring are avail- 
able for a nominal fee. 

Spaghetti Trail: A cross-country trail running from East St., Lee, to 
the Here-U-R, a roadside stand on US 20. Len., 3.5 m. 
Stagecoach Trail: A cross-country trail running from East St., Lee, to 
Belden's Tavern, 4 m. E. of town on US 20. Len., 3 m. 

Beartown State Forest: Located in Lee, Great Barrington, Monterey and 
Tyringham. Entered from Mass 102 at South Lee {see Monterey). 
October Mt. State Forest: Located in Lee, Lenox, Becket, and Wash- 
ington {see Washington). 

320 The Berkshire Hills 


The Highlawn Toboggan Slide: A semicircular run, is located on the S. 
shore of Laurel Lake near US 20. 


Schermcrhorn Gorge: In the October Mt, State Forest. Has several short 
foot trails. 



Benedict Pond: In Beartown State Forest on Monterey Town Line. Has 

bathing facilities. 


Beartown State Forest: In the NE. section of town (see Monterey). 
Monument Mt Reservation: On US 7, near the Stockbridge Line. Has 
a picnic area with tables and benches. 


Wyantenuck Country Club (18 holes, 608^ yds.; green fees, $2 week- 
days, $j Sat., Sun., and holidays; 5 tennis courts; introduction by mem- 
ber): Located on W. Shefl&eld Rd., 2 m. SW. of town. Annual tourna- 
ments in golf and tennis held in July and August. 


Benedict Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the Beartown 

State Forest on Monterey Town Line. 

Green River (Brook Trout): Flows E. from Egremont then SE. into 

Housatonic River. 

Muddy Brook (Stocked): Flows N. through NE. section of town into 

Housatonic River in Lee. 

Roaring Brook (Brook Trout): In S. central section of town flows NW. 

from SheflSeld Line into Housatonic River. 

Root Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the SW. section 

of town. 

Thomas and Palmer Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NW. from near 

Warner Mountain along Mass 23 to Housatonic River. 

Williams River (Stocked from W. Stockbridge Line downstream): 

Flows S. from Stockbridge and then E. into Housatonic River at Van 


West Brook (Brook Trout): In Beartown State Forest; flows N. into 

Housatonic River at South Lee. 

Berkshire Sports 


322 The Berkshire Hills 


Good area for deer, raccoon, rabbits, fox, and game birds. 

Skating: At Pendergast Pond, opposite Fair Grounds on US 7, 1 m. S. 
of town; at Town Rinks on Bridge St. near the Great Barrington Manu- 
facturing Co. plant, and at rear of High School. 


Berkshire Inn (163): rates (A-E), $6 and up; reduced rates in winter. 

Berkshire Lodge: rates (A), $18 to $25 per week. 

Brookside Lodge (32): rates (A), $3 per day, $16 per week. 
*Coach Lamp Inn (50): rates (A), $4.50 per day and up. 

Elm Shade Inn (12): rates (A), $18 per week and up. 
*Great Barrington Sports Center (75; E): Mass 23. 

New Miller Hotel (100): rates (E), $2 per day, |i2 per week. 
*Oakwood Inn: rates (A), $30-$38 per week. 
*Peltonbrook (12): rates (A), $32 per week and up. 

Robinwoods Inn (25): rates (A-E), $3 per day, $20 per week. 

The Terrace (E): 168 Main St. 

Villa Marie (11): rates (A), $3 per day, $20 per week. 
* Wayside Inn (E). 

Abbey Farm: Located off Mass 41, 1.6 m. N. of the center. Open slopes 
(lighted at night) ideal for all classes of skiers. Cross-country snowshoe 
and ski trails run N. and S. Len., about 900'; Av.G., 14°. 
East Mountain State Forest and Great Barrington Sports Center: A 
winter sports area partly on private land on Warner Mt. Reached from 
Mass 23, 2.5 m. E. of town center. There are two ski tows (1200' and 
1800'; fee), enabling skiers to go halfway or to the top of the downhill 
trails. A canteen, with ski shop, check room, and first-aid facilities, is 
available at the foot of the trails on private land. There is also an Inn 
with accommodations for 45 overnight guests. There are toilets, a park- 
ing area, and a skating rink at the foot of the trails and an Adirondack 
shelter and toilets at the top of the trails. 
Appalachian Trail: A cross-country trail extending from Beartown 
Forest {see Lee) to the summit of East Mt. is adapted to cross- 
country skiing and snowshoeing. Len., 11 m.; Wid., 8'-2o'; Di§. 
Elev., 800'; M.G., 10°; Snou/, 8". Trail is marked with red balls 
painted on trees. 

Bottleneck Slope: A new, wide and safe slope. Class, novice; Len., 
1500'; Wid., 4o'-20o'; V.D., 300'; M.G., 15°; Exp., N.; Snow, 6". 
Forgotten Bridge Trail: Class, intermediate; Len., 4000'; Wid., 30'- 
80'; V.D., 630'; M.G., 22°; Exp., N.; Snow, 4". 

Berkshire Sports 323 

Open Field: Class, novice; Area, 8 acres; V.D., 50'; M.G., 10°; Exp., 

NE.; Snouf, 4". 

Taconic Trail: Class, novice and intermediate; Len., 3800'; Wid., 

2o'-6o'; V.D., 630'; M.G.. 18°; Exp., N.; Snotv, 4". Wide, smooth, 

with many turns. 

Warner Open Slope: Class, novice; Len., 2500'; Wid., 5o'-25o'; V.D., 

600'; M.G., 15°; Exp., N.; Snow, 8'\ 

Warner Road Down Hill Trail: A cross-country trail which follows 

the Appalachian Trail from the summit of Three-Mile Hill to the top 

of the ski trails. Len., 5000'; Av.-Wid., 16'; V.D., 1500'; M.G., 8°; 

Exp., N.; Snou/, 4". 

Wildcat Trail: A cross-country trail {see Lee). 
Seekonk Brook Hill: Located on the Alford Rd. 3.5 m. from town. 
Class, intermediate; Len., several hundred feet; Wid., 1800'; M.G., about 
20°; Exp., E.; Snow, 5". 

Beartown State Forest: {see Monterey). 

East Ml State Forest (1524 acres): Located off Mass 23 in Great Har- 
rington, New Marlborough and SheflEeld; is undeveloped except for 
skiing and hiking. East Mt. and Warner Mt. are the principal heights. 
Monument Mt. Reservation (260 acres): Located W. of US 7 near the 
Stockbridge Town Line. Has several trails and picnic area. Good view 
from the ridge to the mountain. 

Appalachian Trail: Enters from Sheffield {see Sheffield) at about 17 m. 
and ascends to the summit of East Mt. (alt. 1840) at 17.4 m. At 17.8 m. 
on Warner Mt., the Trail follows a ski trail down hill past the Taconic 
and Forgotten Bridge Ski Trails in the East Mt. State Forest. Right 
from the ski trail through fields; L. on the Lake Buel Rd; R. on Mass 23 
at 21.2 m. to 22.3 m.; L. here through fields to the Blue Hill Rd., 23.3 m. 
At 23.4 m. R. from this road. The Trail enters Monterey {see Mon- 
terey) at about 23.9 m. 

Hickey Trail: From the parking space at the North entrance to Monu- 
ment Mt. Reservation on US 7, the trail winds in an irregular course 
to the Pinnacle, 0.8 m. W. of the summit the trail connects with the 
Old Woods Rd. South on this road at 1.6 m. is Indian Monument. 
The woods road connects with US 7 about 4 m. N. of Great Barrington. 
Wildcat Trail: In Beartown State Forest. It begins at the skiing area 
at South Lee, runs through the forest past Benedict Pond to East Mt. 
State Forest. There is a shelter midway on the trail. Length about 11 

324 The Berkshire Hills 



Conklin Brook (Brook Trout): In S. central section of town. Flows NE. 
into Housatonic River. 

Housatonic River (Bass and Pickerel): Below Ashley Falls only. 
Hubbard Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. from South Egremont into 
Mill Pond. 

Ironworks Brook (Trout): Flows S, from Three Mile Pond, emptying 
into Housatonic River about 0.5 m. S. of town. 

Konkapot River (Brook and Rainbow Trout): Flows NW. from Con- 
necticut into Housatonic River at Ashley Falls. 

Mill Pond (Pickerel, Perch, Horned Pout, and Bass): NW. of Sheffield 
and W. of Sheffield Plain. 


Excellent area for deer, rabbits, raccoon, fox, and game birds. Ducks 
usually land on the lower Housatonic during the migrating season. 

Skating: On Sheffield Skating Rink, E. of US 7 at Sheffield Plain. 


Elm Terrace (11): rates (A-E), $2.50 per day, $15 per week. 
*Sheffield Inn (50): US 7, rates (A), $4 and up per day. 
^Sheffield Rest Farm (15): rates (A), $17.50 per week. 

Sunset View Farm (65): rates (A), $2.50 per day, $15 per week. 

Twin Maples (11): rates (A-E), $3.00 per day, $18 per week. 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from Egremont at 12.5 m. and crosses 
Hubbard Brook on the Sheffield-South Egremont Rd. At 12.6 m. is the 
Shays' Rebellion Battlefield Site, indicated by a stone marker. Left 
from the Sheffield Rd. on a dirt road at 13.2 m. and R. on US 7 at 
14.4 m. At 14.5 m. L. across the Housatonic River at Upper Bridge to 
East Rd., 15 m. Left on East Rd. to 15.4 m. where the Trail swings R. 
across fields and woods roads to a road running N.-S. between East and 
June Mts. Right on this road a short distance and then L. on the Soda 
Springs Rd. From this road the Trail ascends over a series of ledges and 
at about 17 m. enters Great Barrington (see Great Barrington). 
Black Rock Trail {see Mount Washington). 
Elbow Trail {see Mount Washington). 
Race Brook Trail {see Mount Washington). 
Sages Ravine Brook Trail {see Mount Washington). 
Telephone Trail {see Mount Washington). 

BerJ{shire Sports 325 


An American Youth Hostel is maintained by Mrs. Wilfred Roys. 



Alford Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S. into Green River. Partly posted 
on upper end. 

Green River (Brook Trout): In SW. section of the town. Flows from 
Hillsdale, N. Y., into Egremont. 


Splendid area for deer, raccoon, rabbits, fox, wildcat, and game birds. 


Brookside Lodge (40): rates (A), $3 per day, $16 per week. 


Alford Open Slopes: On the E. side of Alford Valley, 5 m. NW. of 
Great Barrington. Class, all classes; Len., 2600'; V.D., 300'; M.G., 20°; 
Exp., W. Some fences. Hills often crusted. 



Prospect Lake: SW. of N. Egremont. Has a private beach maintained 
by the Olde Egremont Inc. There is a boat livery. 


Mt Everett Golf Club (9 holes, 2600 yds.; green fees, $1.^0 daily; intro- 
duction by member or application to Olde Egremont Inc. required): 
On Mass 23, 0.5 m. E. of South Egremont. 


Goodale Brook (Brook Trout): Flows N. from Mount Washington, 

then E. into Hubbard Brook. Posted above dam at W. end of village. 

Green River (Brook Trout; parts posted): Flows SE. from Alford into 

Great Barrington. 

Hubbard Brook (Brook Trout): Runs E. through South Egremont into 


Prospect Lake (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In NW. section of 

town, 0.8 m. SW. from North Egremont. 


The Berkshire Hills 




H M. 

fec^erd/ )Vr//i;/j '/^rojec^ 


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fflr South S«cf /on. 
of EarcDionh < 



State Hiqhway. '"^^ 

Secondary Reads.. .■ 
Appalacliian Trail --•'^-• 

Beach. — 

Fishing «< 

Golf Club ^ 

nuntino. A 

Skifn^ ?^ 

Berkjhire Sports 327 


Splendid game area. 


Elm Court Inn (35): North Egremont, rates (A), $3.50 per day, $20 
per week. 
*Egremont Inn (50): South Egremont, rates (A), $4.50 to $8 per day. 
Guilder Hollow Club (60): rates (A), $3 per day, $18 per week. 
Jug End Bam (70): South Egremont, rates (A), $3.50 to $4.50 per day. 
Lilac Hedge, South Egremont (A-E). 

Olde Egremont Tavern (10): South Egremont, rates (A), $5 per day, 
$30.00 per week. 

Guilder Hollow Trail: A long cross-country trail with many smooth 
open slopes at Guilder Hollow. Class, novice; Len., 5 m.; Wid., 15'; 
V.D., 300'; M.G., 10°; Exp., N., NE.; Snow, 6"-%'\ 
Jug End Trail: Located on Mt. Sterling (alt. 1980). Class, intermediate; 
Len.. 5280'; Wid., 8'-5o'; V.D., 1000'; M.G., 30°; Exp., NE.; Snow, 

Mt Sterling or Skekut Trail: Located on the NW. slope of Jug End Mt. 
Class, novice; Len., 7920'; Wid., 5'-5o'; V.D., 750'; M.G., 25°; Exp., 
NW.; Snow, 8"-i2". 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from Mount Washington (see Mount Wash- 
ington) at 7.2 m. on the summit of Mt. Bushnell (alt. 1868). The 
Trail continues N. along the crest of a ridge, crossing intermediate 
summits at 7.6 m. and at 8 m. before reaching Jug End, 8.5 m. Descend- 
ing from the summit the Trail reaches a grassy triangle and a road at 
9.5 m.; R. on this road and L. on next road, 9.6 m.; at 10 m. is the junc- 
tion with another road, R. here to Mass 41, 10.8 m.; L. on Mass 41 to 
South Egremont, 11.3 m. At 12.2 m. is the junction with the Sheffield 
Rd. (R). The Trail follows this road and enters Sheffield (see 
Sheffield) at 12.5 m. 


Guilder Pond: In Mt. Everett Reservation, has bathing facilities. 


Mt. Everett Reservation: On Mt. Everett. Has picnic and parking facili- 
ties at the summit. 


The BerJ{shire Hills 

kk[±\l ^•H«=^v 

£S i M 

2 « 1 S 


BerJ{shire Sports 329 

Bash Bish State Forest: On the New York Line. Has a picnic and park- 
ing area. 


Bash Bish Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. through Bash Bish State 

Forest into New York State. 

City Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SW. from Mt. Everett and W. into 

Bash Bish Brook. 

Goodale Brook (Brook Trout): In NW. section of town, flows N. into 


Guilder Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the Mt. Everett 

Reservation between Mt. Undine and Mt. Everett. 

Spurrs Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. into Wright Brook. 

Good area for deer, rabbits, fox, raccoon, and wildcat. 


Bash Bish Falls State Forest (390 acres): Located on the New York 
State Line. The most notable feature is Bash Bish Falls. Across the State 
Line at Copake, N. Y., is an extensive recreational development main- 
tained by the State of New York. The best auto approach to the Forest 
is through Copake Falls, New York. 

Mt. Everett Reservation (1000 acres. County maintained): On Mt. 
Everett (alt. 2644) and surrounding peaks. There are picnic facilities 
near the summit, at the end of the auto road, and a number of foot 
trails. No overnight camping allowed. Fires may be made only in fire 


Appalachian Trail: Crosses the Connecticut-Massachusetts State Line 
at m. and passes through Sages Ravine. The Trail swings N. on 
an old woods road, which skirts the end of Plantain Pond, and then 
turns R. through the woods to the summit of Race Mt. (alt. 2395), 3 m. 
At 4.1 m. is the junction with Race Brook Trail {see below). The 
Mount Everett Reservation {overnight camping and fires pohibited 
except by permission of the superintendent or Reservation Commission- 
ers) is entered at 4.4 m. The Trail ascends through scrub pine and at 
4.9 m. reaches the summit of Mt. Everett (alt. 2644), the highest peak 
in southern Berkshire County. Here is the junction with the Telephone 
Trail {see below). The Mount Everett Reservation Rd. is crossed at 
5.4 m. and at 5.5 m. is the junction with a trail (L) to Guilder Pond 
(alt. 2100). At 6.1 m. is the junction (R) with the Elbow Trail {see 
below) and (L) with the Indian Trail {see below). The Trail reaches 
the highest point on Mt. Undine (2195) at 6.3 m. and the junction 
with Black Rock Trail {see below) at 6.7 m. Descending the eastern 

330 The Berkshire Hills 

slope of Mt. Undine, the Trail leaves the Mt. Everett Reservation at 
6.8 m., crosses a corner of Sheffield and, as it descends to the summit of 
Mt. Bushnell (alt. 1818), 7.2 m., enters the town of Egremont {see 

Black Rock Trail: Leads N. then W. from the Berkshire School in 
Sheffield, passes the sheer high cliff known as Black Rock, and thence 
joins the Appalachian Trail. 

Elbow Trail: Starts from the Berkshire School in Sheffield, leads W. 
then S. joining the Appalachian Trail near Mt. Undine. 
Indian Trail: A continuation of Elbow Trail at the latter's junction 
with the Appalachian Trail in the Mt. Everett Reservation. The Trail 
runs W. from this junction to the Union Church Rd., about 0.3 m. N. 
of the village of Union Church. 

Race Brook Trail: Begins from Mass 41 (Under Mountain Rd.) 3 m. N. 
of the Connecticut State Line. Passing Bear Rock Falls, the Trail pro- 
ceeds W. and joins with the Appalachian Trail between Mt. Everett and 
Race Mountain. 

Sages Ravine Brook Trail: Runs W. from Mass 41 in Sheffield 0.2 m. 
N. of the Connecticut State Line and town, parallels Sages Ravine Brook 
in its course to a point on Union Church Rd., 0.8 m. N. of the State 

Telephone Trail: Runs between the motor road atop Mt. Everett to a 
point on Mass 41, 800' N. of road to Sheffield Center. 

(NOTE: Most of the territory crossed by the above trails is restricted as to fires and 
camping. See instructions under Appalachian Trail.) 



Lake Buel: On the Monterey Town Line. There are several private 
beaches and boat houses on the SW. side {see Monterey). 
York Pond: In the Sandisfield State Forest. Bathing beach and bath 
house on E. shore. 

Campbell Falls State Forest (3 acres): On the Connecticut State Line 
has 6 tables and 4 fireplaces. 
Lake Buel {see Monterey). 
Sandisfield State Forest {see Sandisfield), 


East India Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In SE. section 
of town, drains into Whiting River {permission must be obtained from 
Luf\in family). 

Berkshire Sports 


— Le(]en(]- 

Sfate Highway "^IH Camp Area. A 

Oecondify Roads....—— riihing ^»< 

Appalachian Trail... ^ nuntinq A 

Foreif Area WfSl'^-! Picnic Area fl 


332 The Berkjhire Hills 

Harmon Brook (Rainbow Trout): In NE. section of town, flows NW. 

from Hartnet Pond into Rawson Brook in Monterey. 

Harmon Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout, and Bass): In S. 

central section of town. 

Juniper Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the NW. section 

of town, N. of Mill River Village. 

Konkapot or Mill River (Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout): Flows 

SW. from Monterey into Connecticut. Excellent fishing. 

Lake Buel (Bass, Rainbow Trout, and Pond Fish): On the Monterey 

Line in NW. section of town. 

Umpachene Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NW. from Harmon Pond, 

then SW. and W. into Konkapot River S. of Mill River Village. 

York Pond (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): In Sandisfield State 

Forest near Sandisfield Town Line. 


Excellent game covers in wooded areas. Deer, rabbits, fox, wildcats, and 
game birds in season. 

Campbell Falls State Forest (2.6 acres) : On the Connecticut State Line; 
was acquired to protect Campbell Falls which are 75' high. There is a 
small picnic area. 
Sandisfield State Forest {see Sandisfield). 



Lake Buel: In SW. section of town on the New Marlborough Line. 

Has a fine grove and private beaches {jees charged). 
Miami Beach: Bathing and boating facilities {small fee). 
Gibson's Grove: Bathing and boating facilities (small fee), fishing per- 
mitted. Refreshment stands located here, also camp supplies stores. 

Lake Garfield: E. of the center on Mass 23. Shore mosdy privately 

owned, a small portion available for swimming; no beach. 


Beartown State Forest (7990 acres) In Monterey, Great Barrington, 
Tyringham, and Lee. Has 50 acres devoted to recreation. There are 27 
fireplaces and 26 tables at Benedict Pond, on the Great Barrington Town 
Line, and 13 fireplaces and 14 tables at Mt. Wilcox off Mt. Wilcox Rd. 
A camp and trailer site is provided. There are other picnic facilities 
along West Brook. 

Berkshire Sports 


334 T^^ Berkshire Hills 

Lake Buel: There are picnic groves and camping facilities on the SE. 

side of the lake at Miami Beach and Gibson's Grove, both privately 


Lake Garfield: The only large picnic and camping area is at Perry 

Fargo's Grove {small fee) on Mass 23, 

Lake Garfield Golf Club (9 holes, introduction by member): On Mass 
23 0.6 m. W. of the center. 


Benedict Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In S. central part 

of Beartown State Forest, on Great Barrington Town Line. 

Harmon Brook (Brook Trout): Flows N. from New Marlborough into 

Rawson Brook. 

Konkapot River or Monterey Brook (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow 

Trout): Flows E. then SW. to New Marlborough from Beartown State 


Lake Buel (Rainbow Trout, Bass, Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): 

On New Marlborough Line in SW. section of the town. 

Lake Garfield (Rainbow Trout, Bass, Pickerel, Perch, and Homed 

Pout) : In SE. section of town, E. of center on Mass 23. 

Rawson Brook (Brook and Rainbow Trout): In SE. section. Flows NW. 

then N. from New Marlborough Town Line to Konkapot River. 

Swann Forest Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S. from the A. W. Swann 

State Forest into Konkapot River. 


Fine territory for all native game. 

Brookbend Tavern (60). 
The Stone House (12). 
Willow Glen House. 

Arthur Wharton Swann State Forest (987 acres): Located in Monterey. 
Reached from Mass 23 on Swann Forest Rd. Undeveloped for recreation. 
Beartown State Forest (7990 acres): Located in Monterey, Great Bar- 
rington, Lee, and Tyringham, and entered frojn Mass 23 in Monterey or 
Mass 102 in South Lee. Fifty acres are devoted to recreation at Benedict 
Pond, Wilcox Mountain, and West Brook. The forest is noted for its 
fine azalea and laurel displays. 

Berkshire Sports 335 

Appalachian Trail: Enters from Great Barrington {see Great Barring- 
ton), following the same route as the Wildcat Trail {see Great Barring- 
ton), and reaches the picnic grounds at Benedict Pond, 23.9 m. The 
trail turns L. onto Beartown Rd. at 24.4 m. and then R. from the 
road through the woods to the top of the Ledges from which there is 
a fine view (W) of Benedict Pond, Mt. Everett, Mt. Race, and the 
Catskills in New York. At 25.7 m. the Trail swings R. onto Mt. Wilcox 
Rd. At 26,6 m. is the junction with a side trail (L) leading to the smn- 
mit of Mount Wilcox (alt. 2155; fire tower). At this point the Trail 
turns (R) and runs through woods and blueberry barrens to a woods 
road, 28,4 m., which is followed (L) out of the Beartown State Forest, 
29 m. The Trail then follows back roads to Tyringham {see Tyring- 
ham), 29.5 m. 



Goose Pond: In the N. section of town, on the Lee Line; beaches on N, 

and S. shore; boats for hire at S. end. 

Upper Goose Pond: E. of Goose pond; some bathing, no beach. 


Cooper Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. from Becket into Goose Pond, 

Goose Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): On the Lee Town 


Higley Brook (Brook Trout): Flows from Becket into Upper Goose 


Hop Brook (Brook Trout): Runs NW. from Otis through town to the 

Lee Town Line, Has 16 feeders. 

Upper Goose Pond (Pickerel, Perch, Horned Pout, and Bass): E. of 

Goose Pond. 


Excellent game covers in the wooded sections; deer, rabbits, raccoon, and 
various species of game birds. 

Beartown State Forest: {see Monterey). 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from Monterey {see Monterey) at 29.5 m. 
and follows dirt roads through pine, maple, and birch forests and past 
country estates to Tyringham, 32.2 m. The Trail follows abandoned 

336 The Berkshire Hills 

roads northward to the well-worn Goose Pond Rd. at 34.6 m. Right on 
this road to 34.9 m. and then L, through the woods and across Cooper 
Brook, 35 m. The trail ascends the ridge above Goose Pond and then 
descends to the E. end of Upper Goose Pond, 36.7 m. At 37.1 m. the 
Trail enters Becket {see Bec\et). 



Upper Spectacle Pond: N. part of town in Otis State Forest. Bathing 
beach and boating. 

Otis State Forest: On Otis Town Line off Mass 23 {see Otis). 
Sandisfield State Forest: A picnic area has been developed on the shore 
of York Pond. There are 20 tables, 12 fireplaces and 6 tent sites. 
Tolland State Forest: There is a picnic area along the E. bank of the 
Farmington River, approached from Mass 8. Facilities include 50 picnic 
tables, 50 fireplaces, and 10 camp sites. 


Buck or Montville River (Brook and Rainbow Trout): Flows SE. 

through the central section of town and joins the Farmington River at 

New Boston. 

Clam River (Brook and Rainbow Trout): Flows SE. from West Otis 

into Buck River at West New Boston. 

Farmington River (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): Flows S. along 

Mass 8 into Connecticut. 

Simon Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): On the Connecticut 

State Line L2m. W. of Mass 8. 

Spectacle Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In Otis State Forest, 

S. of Upper Spectacle Pond. 

Upper Spectacle Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In Otis State 

Forest on the Otis Town Line near Mass 23. 


Considered to be one of the finest game areas of Berkshire County. 

New Boston Inn. 

Otis State Forest {see Otis). 

Sandisfield State Forest (3895 acres): Located in Sandisfield and New 
Marlborough. About 10 acres surrounding York Pond have been devel- 

Berkshire Sports 


— Legend — 

Stale Higfiwav-. K§^ CampArea A 

Secondary Roadi.... "^ 

Forest Ares. 


iliiiiia Huntinq 

^ Picnic Area 



fede/-^/ jfr/Ye/s'P/olee^ 

338 The Berkshire Hills 

oped for recreational purposes. York Pond {see New Marlborough) is 
an excellent fishing ground. 

Tolland State Forest (2940 acres): Located in Tolland and Otis along 
Mass 8. Twenty-six acres are devoted to recreation, subdivided into two 
picnic areas, one on the Farmington River and one at Otis Reservoir. 
There is a camping area at Otis Reservoir. Main entrance from Mass 8 
in Sandisfield. 


Big or Benton Pond: In the E. central section of town, N. of East Otis. 
There is a beach on the E. shore. 

Otis Reservoir: S. of East Otis. Several beaches, one in the Tolland State 
Forest; boats available for hire on W. shore. 

Parish Pond: In the E. central section of town near Mass 23. Boats for 
hire at Worden's on the W. shore. 

Upper Spectacle Pond: In the Otis State Forest on the Sandisfield Town 
Line. Bathing. 

Otis State Forest: S. of Mass 23. Has 18 tables, 10 fireplaces, and 12 tent 
sites, 6 of which have fireplaces. 

Town Picnic Area (Knox Park): On Mass 23, 2.2m. E. of Otis center. 
ToUand State Forest: Camping and picnicking {see Sandisfield). 

Big or Benton Pond (Pond Fish): N. of East Otis. 
Clam River, East Branch (Brook Trout): Flows SE. across Mass 23 
into Upper Spectacle Pond. 

Clam River, West Branch (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): Flows 
SE. from West Otis into Clam River in Sandisfield. 
Creek Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the NE. section of 
town, W. of White Lilly Pond. 

Dimmock Brook (Stocked): Flows S. from Becket to Mass 23, and turns 
W., crossing to the S. side of the road and joining the Farmington River 
S. of the center. 

Farmington River (Brook, Speckled and Rainbow Trout): Starts as a 
spring in cellar of Houston's Inn on US 20. Flows S. along Mass 8. 
Giles or Smith Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. from Kingsbury Mt., 
crosses Mass 23 about 1.5 m. W. of the center, and empties into Farming- 
ton River S. of Otis Mill Pond. 

Hayes Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the W. section of 
town about 1.5 m. N. of West Otis. 

Berkshire Sports 339 

Hop Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. from Hayes Pond into Tyringham. 
Otis Reservoir (Bass and Pond Fish): In SE. corner of town and in 
Tolland State Forest. Fishing best a month after season opens, and after 

Otis Reservoir Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. from Otis Falls into the 
Farmington River. 

Parish Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): Near Mass 23, W. of 
East Otis. 

Upper Spectacle Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the Otis 
State Forest on the Sandisfield Town Line, 

Wheeler Brook (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout) Flows W. from 
Parish Pond into Farmington River. 

White Lilly Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the NE. sec- 
tion of town near the Becket Line, W. of Algerie Rd. 


One gf the best game areas in the county. Famous for deer, raccoon, 
rabbits, game birds, wildcat, and fox. Canadian lynx have been shot here. 
Ducks and geese on the town ponds. 


Ice Fishing: On Big Pond, Otis Reservoir, Parish Pond, White Lilly 
Pond, and Farmington River at North Otis. 

East Otis Inn. 
Otis Tavern (A). 
Rake Shop — Tea Room (16 cabins): North Otis; rates (E), $1 per day. 

Otis State Forest (3835 acres): Located in Otis, Becket, Sandisfield, and 
Tyringham, along Mass 23. There is a 15-acre recreation area at Spectacle 
Pond. Upper Spectacle Pond, comprising approximately 60 acres, has 
been well stocked with trout and provides excellent fishing; in addition, 
there is a bathing beach here. 
Tolland State Forest {see Sandisfield). 

Foot Trails traverse the camping area in the Tolland State Forest {see 
Sandisfield) near Otis Reservoir. 

340 The Berkshire Hills 



Center Pond: N. of Becket Center; beaches on E. and W. side. 

Rudd Pond: NW. of town center. Beach on NW. shore; no lockers or 


Shaw Pond: S. of W. Becket; private beaches. 

Yokiun Pond: In NW. section of town; Camp Yokum, private. 


There are several picnic areas located along US 20, on privately owned 

Center Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In central section of 
town, W. of Mass 8. 

Center Pond Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NE. from Center Pond to the 
Westfield River. 

Greenwater Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): Adjacent to 
US 20 near the Lee Town Line. 

Higley Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NW. into Upper Goose Pond in 

Sawmill Brook (Brook Trout, 1938): Flows N. from Rudd Pond to 
Yokum Brook. 

Shales Brook (Brook Trout): Flows into Shaw Pond, crossing Mass 8 
about 0.4 m. S. of US 20. 

Shaw Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): Adjacent to Mass 8 on 
the Otis Town Line, about 0.9 m. S. of US 20. 

Stone Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. from Washington to Yokum 

Walker Brook (Brook Trout): Runs S. and then E. along US 20 to 

Westfield River, West Branch (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): 
Flows E. from its source in Washington, forming part of the N. Bound- 
ary of town. 

Yokum Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the NW. section 
of town, W. of Rudd Pond. 

Yokum Brook (Brook Trout): Flows E. and N. from Yokum Pond to 
Westfield River. 


Excellent game area. 

BerJ{shire Sports 


342 The Berkshire Hills 


Berkshire Pines (E): Jacob's Ladder (US 20). 

Lyttlebrooks (10): rates (A), $18 per week. 
*Summit House (30): Jacob's Ladder (US 20), rates (E), $1 per day. 
*Wade Inn (A-E): Center Pond. 

Hylawn Winter Sports Grounds: A new development, located on the 
Washington Town Line, W. of Mass 8 and 0.5 m. N. of Becket, and 
formerly known as the Hays Farm Slopes. Several trails for skiing and 
snow shoeing and a toboggan slide are available. No charge is made; 
equipment must be brought by patrons. Refreshments are sold in the 
Wigwam, a warm house. 

Hays Hazard Trail: Class, novice and intermediate; Len., 4000'; Wid., 

20'; V.D.. 350'; M.G.. 12°; Exp., N.; Snow, 6". 

50-50 Break Trail: Class, novice; Exp., E-W. 

The Power Dive Trail: A fast trail with three jumps. Class, expert; 

Len., 2600'; Wid., io'-3o'; V.D., 400'; M.G., 26°; Exp.. N.; Snow, 6". 

Practice Slopes: 140 acres of easy grades. Snow, 2". 

Snowshoe Trail: A two-mile trail encircling the winter sports area. 

Begins and ends at the Wigwam. 

Toboggan Slide: A natural slide through a wood lane and an open 

field. Len., about 2000'; Exp., E. 
Huckleberry Trail: {see Lee). 

October Mt. State Forest {see Washington). 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from Tyringham {see Tyringham) at. 37.7 m. 
and descends from the ridge through woods and overgrown clear- 
ings. A woods road is followed past the outlet of Greenwater Pond 
to US 20, which is crossed at 37.7 m. The trail enters the October Mt. 
State Forest and ascends Becket Mt., crossing the first summit (alt. 
2200) at 38.9 m. and the second summit (alt. 2180) at 39.3 m. The Trail 
descends through a valley and ascends Walling Mt. (alt. 2272), 39.9 m. 
At 40.3 m., the Trail enters Washington {see Washington). 
Becket Falls Trail: Begins at a point 0.2 m. E. of Becket and leads across 
a bridge to a limestone ledge over which Becket Falls plunge into a 
grotesque rock channel 25' below. At the foot of the cascade is an old 
swimming hole. 

Berkshire Sports 343 


Carl Peer Pond: E. section of town. Has a private beach. 


October Mt. State Forest: In Schermerhorn Gorge there are 25 picnic 
tables and 25 fireplaces. At Whitney Tower, 2 m. NE. of the Gorge, 
there are 18 tables and 11 fireplaces. 


Felton Lake (Bass): In October Mt. State Forest, NE. of Schermerhorn 

Halfway Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): NE. of Felton 
Lake, in the October Mt. State Forest. 

Mud Pond (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In the center of October 
Mt. State Forest. 

Roaring Brook (Brook Trout): Flows W. from Clapp Pond in October 
Mt. State Forest into Housatonic River in Lenox. 
Shaker Mill Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. into Becket. 
Washington Mountain Brook (Brook Trout): Flows N. from Becket 
through October Mt. State Forest, then SW. along Washington Moun- 
tain Rd. to Housatonic River in Lee. 

Watson Brook (Brook Trout): E. of Shaker Mill Brook, flows SE. into 
Stone Brook. 

Westfield River, West Branch (Brook Trout): Originates in the E. 
section of town and flows SE. along the Boston & Albany RR. into 


All small game, including wildcat and deer. One of best deer ranges in 


Colonial Farm (15): rates (A), $15 per week. 

Mapleview (50): rates (A), $2.50 per day, $12.50 per week and up. 


October Mt. State Forest (14,189 acres): In Washington, Lee, Lenox, and 
Becket is the largest state forest in Massachusetts. About 100 acres have 
been developed for recreational purposes. There are excellent fishing 
streams and ponds and hunting covers. A large wild life sanctuary covers 
much of the central section of the forest. 


The Berkshire Hills 

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Berkshire Sports 345 

Appalachian Trail: Enters from Becket {see Bec}{et) at 40.3 m. and 
passes the northern end of Finerty Pond at 40.5 m. The Trail continues 
along a woods road and at 41.9 m. turns L. on an auto road to 42.1 m. 
Here the Trail swings R. and ascends to the summit of Bald Top Mt. 
(alt. 2069), 42.3 m. The Trail continues N. and leaves the October Mt. 
State Forest at 44.5 m. when it turns R. on Washington Rd. Left from 
Washington Rd., on the Pittsfield-Becket Rd. at Washington, 45.1 m.; 
R. from this road on Beach Rd. at Washington, 45.9 m.; L. from Beach 
Rd. through the woods at 47 m. At 49.3 m. the Trail crosses Blotz Rd. 
and enters Hinsdale {see Hinsdale^ at 49.4 m. 

Schermerhorn Gorge: In October Mt. State Forest, is the point of origin 
for a foot trail that circles Felton Lake and returns to the Gorge. 


Ashmere Lake: Near the Peru Town Line on Mass 143. Bathing limited 
because of private ownership of shore property. Boats available for hire 
on W, shore, on Peru Rd. (Mass 143), and at refreshment stand on the 
E. shore. 

Plunkett Reservoir: In S. central section of town, has a beach and boat- 
ing facilities. 


Hinsdale Golf Club (9 holes, 2200 yds.; visitors welcome; green jees, 
^o^ during July and Aug.; at other times, 2^^ on u/eef^days, ^o^ Sat., 
Sun., and holidays; seasonal membership, $10 for men, $^ for women): 
On Mass 8, N. of the center. Tournaments held almost every week. 


Ashmere Lake (stocked): On Mass 143 at Peru Town Line. 
Bennett Brook or Housatonic River, Southeast Branch (Brook Trout): 
Runs W. into Housatonic River. 

Housatonic River (Stocked): Flows N. from Muddy Pond Brook and 
parallels Mass 8 into Dalton. 

Muddy Pond Brook (Stocked): Flows N. from Muddy Pond on the 
Washington Town Line, then W. into Housatonic River. 
Plunkett Reservoir (Pickerel, Perch, and Horned Pout): In S. central 
part of town. 

Welch Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. into Plunkett Reservoir. 
Wingtown Brook (Brook and Rainbow Trout): SE. of Plunkett Reser- 
voir, flows NE. into Housatonic River. 

346 The Berkshire Hills 

Good area for rabbits, grouse, deer, fox, raccoon, and some pheasants. 

*The Bums Place (20): rates (A), $16 per week. 

The Elms (12): rates (A), $15 per week and up, 
*Kilfane Lodge (35; E). 

The Rath House: rates (A), $i5-$28 per week; reduced rates in winter. 
The Roy Place (40): rates (A), $18 per week and up. 

Hinsdale Coimtry Club Slopes: Located NE. of Hinsdale Center off 
Mass 8. The Country Club grounds provide excellent facilities for 
winter sports, with large open slopes good for skiing, toboganning. 
Usable with two-inch base. Hills occasionally illuminated with portable 

Mt. Greylock Ski Club Jump: Located on the North slope W. of best 
ski hill on the Hinsdale Country Club grounds. Jump of 5o'-6o' pos- 

Snowshoeing is popular in several sections of the town. Besides the area 
about the Country Club, there are Warner Mt. (alt, 2136), in the SW. 
section of the town off Persip's Rd. and near the Washington Town 
Line, and the Tulley Mt. Ledge, off Robinson Rd. to the NW. 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from Washington {see Washington) at 
49.4 m. and ascends Warner Mt. (alt, 2136), 50.1 m. The Persip's Rd. 
is crossed at 50.5 m. and the Trail descends steeply to enter Dalton 
{see Dalton) at 52.3 m. 



Pine Grove Park: On Curtis St., 0.2 m. N. of Mass 8. Has tables and 
benches for picnickers, 


Wahconah Country Club (9 holes, ^22^ yds.; green fees, $1.50; intro- 
duction by member or application at Club House required): E. of Dal- 
ton between Mass 8 and 9. Open tournament in September. 


FUntstone Brook (Stocked): Flows S. into Wahconah Falls Brook. 
Hinsdale Brook (Stocked): Flows W. from Hinsdale into the Housa- 
tonic River. 

Berkshire Sports 


348 The Ber\shire Hills 

Wahconah Falls Brook or Housatonic River, Eas.t Branch (Stocked): 
Flows W. and then S. from Windsor into Housatonic River. 

Grouse, pheasants, rabbits, deer, and raccoon. 


Skating: At Pine Grove, 0.5 m. W. of center. 


The Irving House (40): rates (A-E), $2 to $3 per day; reduced rates in 

Bulldog Hill: Located N. of center on Franklin St., off Mass 9. All 
classes; Exp., N., E., and S.; M.G., 20°. A large acreage of rolling, 
smooth pasture land. Several slopes are lighted by portables for night 

Wahconah Country Club: Located E. of center on Mass 8 and 9. Several 
small hills. 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from Hinsdale {see Hinsdale) at 52.3 m. 
and descends through fields and woods to Grange Hall Rd, 53.3 m., 
which is followed L. to 53.8 m. Here the Trail turns R. and crosses the 
B & A RR. tracks and Housatonic River and reaches Dalton Center at 
55.4 m. Mass 9 is followed R. to 56.4 m., where the Trail swings L. to 
Dalton Reservoir, 57.5 m. The Trail traverses old woods roads and 
passes through the notch between Weston (R) and North (L) Mts. at 
58.8 m. The Trail descends the western slope of Weston Mt. and enters 
Cheshire {see Cheshire) at 6L2 m. 



Lake Ashmere {see Hinsdale). 

Geer Pond: In the Peru State Forest; has a beach but no lockers or bath 



Peru State Forest: Has a picnic area with 16 fireplaces and 25 tables 
and a camping area in the NW. section of the forest, on the Hinsdale- 
Middlefield Rd. 

Berkshire Sports 349 


Ashmere Lake (Stocked): In E. central section of town on Mass 143 
at the Hinsdale Town Line. 

Cone Brook (Stocked): In the Peru State Forest; flows E, and joins 
Tutde Brook. 

Factory Brook (Stocked): Flows S. into Middlefield. 
Fuller Brook (Stocked): Flows SE. into Worthington from the N. cen- 
tral section of town. 

Geer Pond (Stocked): In the Peru State Forest. 
Mongmeadow Brook (Stocked): Flows E. then N. to East Windsor. 
Trout Brook (Stocked): In the N. section of town; flows E. into 

Tuttle Brook (Stocked): Flows E. from the Peru State Forest into 


An excellent game area. Deer, raccoon, fox, wildcat, rabbits, and game 
birds in season. 


Peru State Forest (2185 acres): In Peru and Middlefield. Three acres 
have been devoted to recreation areas. There are opportunities for hunt- 
ing and fishing. 


Foot Trail runs E. through the Peru State Forest from a gravel road 
S. of Geer Pond to a forest truck trail running N. and S. about 2 m. 
in the interior. 



Windsor Pond: Extreme NE. section near the Windsor State Forest; 
bathing beach (life guard), boating, bath house and lockers. 


Windsor State Forest: Has picnic facilities at Windsor Jambs, at the 
Clear Brook area, and at the Steep Bank Brook area, all of which pro- 
vide 42 tables and 38 fireplaces. 


Clear Brook (Stocked): In E. central section of Windsor State Forest. 

Flows SE. into Jambs Stream. 

Clear Brook Pond (Stocked): In E. central section of Windsor State 



The Ber\shire Hills 

Berkshire Sports 351 

Housa tonic River, East Branch or Windsor River (Stocked): Flows from 
the N. central part of town SW. into Town Supply Reservoir, thence 
into Hinsdale, 

Mongmeadow Brook (Stocked): FIovv^s E., then N. from Peru to East 

Nungy Brook (Stocked): In NE. section of Windsor, a continuation 
cf Phelps Brook; flows SE. from Savoy into Windsor State Forest. 
Quarter-Acre Pond (Stocked): In Windsor State Forest. 
Tower Brook (Stocked): Flows W. from Plainfield into Windsor State 

Westiield River, East Branch (Stocked): Flows through the NE. section 
of town. 

Windsor Pond (Brown and Rainbow Trout; Pond Fish): In the ex- 
treme NE. corner of town. 

Windsor Jambs Stream (Stocked): Runs S. through the Forest into 
Windsor Jambs, thence into Westfield River. 

Windsor Pond Brook (Stocked): Flows from Windsor Pond to Windsor 
Jambs Stream in Windsor State Forest. 


Hunting limited owing to posted land; some open area for rabbits and 

Windsor State Forest (1515 acres): Located within the towns of Savoy 
and Windsor; contains the celebrated Windsor Jambs, one of the scenic 
attractions of the State. Fifteen acres along the Westfield River and 25 
acres at Windsor Jambs are developed for recreation. A bathing pool 
has been provided at the Westfield River picnic grounds. There is a large 
Wild Life Preserve. The Forest is best reached from Mass 9 at West 

Foot Trail: Begins at the parking area near Windsor Jambs and pro- 
ceeds N. to the Clear Brook Pool and picnic area. At the latter point 
it turns W. and passes through the Wild Life Area in the center of 
Windsor State Forest. At about 0.9 m. from Clear Brook Pool, the Trail 
turns S., branches out into a series of circular and side-trail by-paths 
near Middle Rd., and continues on to approach Windsor Jambs from 
the S. 

352 The Berkshire Hills 



Savoy Mt. State Forest: Has 23 tables and 13 fireplaces at Tannery Falls 
and Gulf Brook. Twenty tent sites and 6 trailer sites offer adequate 
facilities for camping. 


Black Brook (Lower end, Brook Trout; upper end, posted): Runs N. 

into Cold River, along Black Brook Rd. 

Bog Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NE. from Bog Pond into Florida, 

thence into Cold River. Greater part closed because it is in a Wild Life 


Brown Brook (Brook Trout): In Savoy Mt. State Forest. Flows SE. 

into Carpenter Brook. 

Carpenter Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. into Chickley River near 

Hawley Town Line. 

Center Brook (Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout): Runs in a N. to S. 

direction between the villages of Savoy Center and Savoy. 

Chickley River (Brook and Rainbow Trout): Runs from the SE. section 

of Savoy Mt. State Forest E. to the Hawley Line. 

Drowned Sand Brook (Brook and Rainbow Trout): Flows N. from 

Windsor to Mass 116 in SW. section. 

Gulf Brook (Brook and Rainbow Trout): Flows E. into Cold River. 

Horsefords Brook (Brook Trout): In Savoy Mt. State Forest. Flows 

SE. into Chickley River. 

Horton Brook (Brook Trout): In the extreme SE. corner of Savoy Mt. 

State Forest. Flows N. into Chickley River. 

Phelps Brook (Stocked): Flows S. into Windsor. 

Savoy Hollow Brook (Brook Trout): In the SW. section of town S. of 

Center Brook. Flows SE. into Westfield River. 

South Pond (Pond Fish): In the NW. section of Savoy Mt. State Forest 

near the Florida Town Line. Written permit from forest supervisor 


Tannery Pond (Brook and Brown Trout): S. of Tannery Falls, in Savoy 

Mt. State Forest. Written permit from forest supervisor necessary. 

Tilton Brook (Brook Trout): In the SE. section of Savoy Mt. State 

Forest. Flows E. into Chickley River. 

Westfield River (Stocked): S. of Savoy village. Runs SE. into Windsor. 


The forests abound in good game covers. Excellent area for deer, rabbits, 
fox, wildcat, raccoons, and game birds. There is a large Wild Life Area 
in the Savoy Mt. State Forest. 


Berkshire Sports 



354 ^^^ Ber\shire Hills 

Savoy Mt. State Forest (10,641 acres): Located in Savoy, Adams, North 
Adams and Florida. The highest elevation is 2500 feet. Thirty-two-acre 
tract devoted to recreation, subdivided into two picnic areas at Gulf 
Brook and Tannery Falls. There are good trout ponds and streams; 
and hunting is permitted outside the wild-life area. The forest is best 
reached from Mass 2. 

Mohawk Trail State Forest (5746 acres): Located on Mass 2 in the 
towns of Charlemont, Hawley, Savoy, and ItXoxidz {see Florida). 

Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail: Enters the Savoy Mt. State Forest 
from Adams over an old woods road W. of Burnett Pond. The Trail 
runs N. past South Pond to the Florida Town Line {see Florida). 
Foot Trails: In the Savoy Mt. State Forest at Tannery Falls and Gulf 
Brook picnic area, there are several trails, one extending SW. from 
Balanced Rock, L7m., to the Fire Tower on Savoy Mountain (alt. 
2613). A short circular trail begins at the picnic grounds at Tannery 
Falls, passes Balanced Rock, and returns to the picnic area. Still another 
trail follows the course of Gulf Brook E. for about L4m., and loops 
back to the starting point. Another trail leads from the picnic area at 
Tannery Falls to the Gulf Brook Trail. 

N.Y.A. Trails: In the Savoy Mt. State Forest, there are two trails: one 
running S. from North Pond to a junction with Mass 116; the other, 
running SW. from the Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail about 0.4 m. 
N. of North Pond to East Hoosac St., Adams {see Adams). 



Hoosac Lake or Cheshire Reservoir: Bathing and boating; S. of town 
on Mass 8. 


CoUins Brook (Brook Trout): In S. central section of town; flows N., 

then W. into Hoosac Lake. 

Dry Brook (Brook Trout): Flows NW. from Windsor through town 

into Adams. 

Gore Brook (Brook Trout): In S. section of town; runs W. into 

Cheshire Reservoir. 

Hoosac Lake or Cheshire Reservoir (Pond Fish and Bass): Lies adjacent 

to Mass 8; partly in Lanesborough. 

Hoosic River, South Branch (Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout): 

Flows N. from Hoosac Lake through town into Adams. 

Berkshire Sports 



State HiQhway......"<3)" Forest Area. 

Seconaary Roads...— ^ Fiahina 

Appalachian Trail..--f-Hiinf inq 

BridleTrail --eT-Skiinq 


■j T I li 

Scau r^ srtii 

356 The Berkshire Hills 

Kitchen Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE. into Hoosic River. 

Penniman Brook (Brook Trout): Flows E. into Hoosic River. 

Pettibone Brook (Brook Trout): In SW. section of Cheshire; flows 

SE. into Lanesborough, thence into Hoosac Lake. 

South or Smith Brook (Brook Trout): Starts in Dalton, flows NW. into 

Hoosic River. 

Thunder Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SE., then E. into Kitchen Brook. 


Excellent game covers. Deer, raccoon, rabbits, and game birds. 

Bickford Farm: rates (A), $2.50 per day. 
Broadacres (16): rates (A), $15 per week. 
Cheshire Inn: rates (A), $2.50 per day. 

Ormesby Farms Inn (12): rates (A), $5 per day and up; special weekly 

Mrs. Raymond Wells (10): rates (A), $18 per week. 
Shady Lawn Farm: rates (A), $25 per week. 

Appalachian Trail: That part of the Trail extending from Cheshire 
to Jones' Nose on Mt. Greylock makes a fine cross-country ski run. 
It meets the Cheshire Harbor Trail at the Rockwell Motor Rd., near 
the summit of Greylock. 
Cheshire Harbor Trail: {see Adams). 

Greylock State Reservation {see Adams). 

Appalachian Trail: Enters from Dalton {see Dalton) at 61.2 m. and 
proceeds NW. through a deep gullied road to the Stafford Trail, 
63.7 m., which is followed L. to Cheshire Village, 64.2 m. West Rd. 
is followed W. from Cheshire to 65.3 m. where the Trail turns R. and 
goes through fields and woods, crossing many brooks. Kitchen Brook 
is crossed at 67.9 m. At 68 m. the Trail enters the Greylock State 
Reservation as it crosses the old Cheshire Harbor Rd., and turns L. 
to the large rock near the Rockwell Rd. It then turns R. and enters 
New Ashford {see New Ashford), at 68.7 m. 
Cheshire Harbor Trail: {see Adams). 

Berkshire Sports 357 


Greylock State Reservation: Has a picnic area on the summit of Mt. 
Greylock, with fireplaces and picnic grounds. Dormitory accommoda- 
tions and meals are available at the Bascom Lodge (caretaker on prem- 
ises; open summer and winter). Directions for reaching: (see State 
Forests, page S59)- 

Forest Park Country Club (g-hole course; 2^00 yds.; green fees, §0^ 
weekdays; $1 w€e\-ends and holidays; i tennis court; introduction by 
member or by applying at club house). Located on Forest Park Avenue. 

Dry Brook (Brook Trout): Flows N. from Cheshire into Hoosic River. 
Granny or Tophet Brook (Brook Trout): Flows SW. from Savoy 
Town Line, then NW. into Anthony Creek and Hoosic River, 
Notch Brook (Brook Trout): Runs in a northerly direction from the 
Bellows Pipe on Mt. Greylock, to North Adams. 
Pecks Brook (Brook Trout): Flows S., then E. from Mt. Greylock into 
Hoosic River. 


Fine game covers in the thickly wooded hills; partridges, rabbit, and 

Crystal Door Inn (12): rates (E), $1 per day. 
Dean Homestead (27): rates (E), $1 per day. 
Greylock Hotel (32): rates (E), $1 per day. 
Greylock Rest (25): rates (A-E), $1 per day and up. 
Mohawk Hotel (40): Pleasant St., rates (E), $1 per day and up. 

Greylock State Reservation (8660 acres): Has several of the best ski 
trails in the county and over 25 m. of snowshoe trails. At the summit 
(alt. 3505) is Bascom Lodge with refreshment facilities and overnight 
accommodations for 40 people. The New Ashford Rd., from US 7, 
New Ashford, is plowed to the C.C.C. Camp, about L5m. from the 
summit. Skiers can also use the Notch Rd. (not plowed in the reserva- 
tion). The Hopper and Stony Ledge Trails are best reached from 
Williamstown {see Williamstoum). 


The Ber}{shire Hills 

Bellows Pipe Open Slopes: Near Thiel Farm, NE. base of Mt. Grey- 
lock, end of New Bellows Pipe and Thunderbolt Trails. Class, novice. 
Cheshire Harbor Trail: Located partly in Greylock State Reservation 
on the SE. shoulder of Greylock and descending on to the old 
Cheshire Harbor Rd. Class, novice; Len., 13,200'; Wid., 6'-2o'; V.D., 
2000'; M.G., 18°; Exp., E., SE. (thickly wooded); Snow. 6". This 

Berkshire Sports 359 

Trail, one of the very first used for skiing in the Berkshires, is still 
popular. Advanced skiers will find it sufficiendy interesting under 
fast conditions. The old Adams road, turning off S. part-way up, is an 
excellent cross-country trail. Directions for reaching: W. from Mass 
8 at Cheshire Harbor on old state road; R. at first road junction; 
then L. on to West Mt. Rd. 

New Bellows Pipe Ski Trail: Located in the Greylock State Reserva- 
tion on the NE. slope of Mt. Greylock. The new trail replaces the old 
Bellows Pipe Trail; it begins and ends with the Thunderbolt {see 
below) but makes a wide swinging course by the upper end of the 
Notch and then swings SE. across the open slopes. Class, interme- 
diate; Len., 7775; Wid., i2'-35'; V.D,, 1402'; M.G., 27°; Exp., 
E. & S.; Snow, 5". 

Thunderbolt Ski Run: Located in the Greylock State Reservation on 
the NE. slope of Mt. Greylock. Class, expert; Len., 8448' (racing 
course, 7392'); Wid., i8'-6o''; V.D., 2175' (racing trail, 2050'); M.G., 
35°; Exp., N., NE., E.; Snow, 5" (8" top steep slope). This is one 
of the steepest and most difl&cult runs in the East. The annual Massa- 
chusetts Downhill Ski Championship races, and the Eastern Down- 
mountain Championship races are usually held here. The lower third 
of the course has been changed so as to be on Greylock State Reserva- 
tion property. At the foot of the Thunderbolt Trail, near Thiel Farm, 
is a huge parking area. Directions for reaching: W. on Maple St. from 
Mass 8 at McKinley Square in Adams to West Rd. 0.4 m.; L. on West 
Rd. to road junction, L2m.; R. on this road to Thiel Farm, 1.9 m. 
Chains may be needed on this last part. 

Greylock State Reservation (8660 acres): Located in Adams, North 
Adams, Williamstown, New Ashford, and Cheshire. Has 25 miles of 
trails, overnight shelters at vantage points of scenic interest, fireplaces, 
two swimming pools, and other recreational features. The lodge at the 
summit is open year round. Best reached by Rockwell Rd. from US 7, 
Lanesborough, or by Notch Rd. from Mass 2 in North Adams. 
Savoy Mt State Forest (see Savoy). 


Appalachian Trail: Enters from New Ashford (see New Ashford) 
and reaches Rockwell Rd., 71 m., which is followed R. past the cut-off 
to the Hopper Trail (see Williamstown), 71.2 m., and the Cheshire 
Harbor Trail (see below), 71.3 m. Between 71.5 m. and 71.8 m., the 
Trail leaves the Road and follows the Misery Trail. At 71.9 m. is the 
summit of Mt. Greylock (alt. 3505), the highest mountain in Massa- 
chusetts. Here is the State War Memorial Beacon and Bascom Lodge 
(accommodations for 20 men and 20 women; small charge for food and 
blanj(ets; open all year). The Thunderbolt Ski Trail is followed to 

360 The Berkshire Hills 

72.4 m. The Trail crosses Mr. Fitch (alt. 3220) at 73.2 m. and enters, 
North Adams {see North Adams) at 73.6 m. 

Bellows Pipe Foot Trail (Williams Outing Club; marked WOC): Ex- 
tends from the summit of Greylock E. across the Thunderbolt Trail. It 
reverses its direction at two points on the descent, finally proceeding 
in a NW. direction to North Adams. 

Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail: From Mass 8, at junction with 
the Cheshire Harbor Trail, it extends E. to Savoy Town Line near 
Burnett Pond. 

Cheshire Harbor Trail: From Mass 8, 0.3 m. S. of the Cheshire Town 
Line, the Trail leads NW. over a dirt road which parallels Bassett Brook 
for a short distance. As the road enters the Greylock State Reservation, 
the Trail goes through the woods and joins the Appalachian Trail and 
the Rockwell Rd. The Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail follows 
the same route. 

N.Y.A. TRAILS: There are three trails: one runs NE. from East Hoosac 
St. to the Savoy State Forest where it joins the Berkshires to the Capes 
Bridle Trail; another runs S. from the junction of these trails through 
Savoy State Forest to Mass 116; the third runs W. from the Dean Farm 
to Camp Hamblen and then S. to the Cheshire Harbor Trail. 
Robinson's Point Trail: This trail branches NW. from the Appalachian 
Trail at a point 0.4 m. NE. of the summit of Mt. Greylock. Continuing 
across the Notch Rd. the Trail leads to a vantage point near the inner 
Hopper. The view from the latter point is well worth the trip. 
Thunderbolt Trail (Williams Outing Club; marked WOC): Primarily 
a ski trail, it runs NE. from the summit of Mt. Greylock. At about 
0.5 m. the trail turns S., gradually changing to an easterly direction at 
0.9 m., and ending near Thiel Farm. 


An American Youth Hostel is maintained by Mrs. Mabel Read Pela, 
35 Crandall St. 


(Abbreviation, recr., indicates recreational section) 

Adams, 258, 266-275; recr., 357-360; 
map, 289 

Adams, Henry, 198 

Adams, Samuel, 268 

Adams Society of Friends' Descendants, 

Alford, 172-175; recr., 325; map, 326 

Alford Brook, 175 

Alford, Col. John, 173 

Allen, Jonathan, 82 

Allen, Rev. Thomas, 53, 67, 71 

Amherst, Gen. Jeffrey, 211 

Anthony, Susan B., 271 

Appalachian Trail, 288, 291, 294, 298, 
322, 323, 324, 327, 329, 335, 342, 545, 
346, 348, 356, 359 

Appleseed, Johnny, 218 

Appleton, Frances, 75 

AQUATIC SPORTS, 279; in Becket, 340; 
Cheshire, 354; Clarksburg, 288; Egre- 
mont, 325; Florida, 285; Great Bar- 
rington, 320; Hancock, 300; Hinsdale, 
345; Lanesborough, 298; Lee, 316; 
Lenox, 313; Monterey, 332; Mount 
Washington, 327; New Marlborough, 
330; North Adams, 290; Otis, 338; 
Peru, 348; Pittsfield, 302; Richmond, 
309; Sandisfield, 336; Stockbridge, 312; 
Tyringham, 335; Washington, 343; 
West Stockbridge, 310; Windsor, 349 

Arnold, Benedict, 29, 41 

Arnold, Matthew, 117 

Arrowhead, 73 

Arthur, Pres. Chester A., 128 

Asbury, Rev. Francis, 179, 183 

Ashintully, 199 

Ashley, Col. John, 112, 169 

Ashley Falls, 167 

"Ashuelot Equivalent," 232 

Austin, Nathaniel, 138 

Ayers, Rev. Braman, 224 

Baker Family, the, 173 

Balance Rock Park, 63 

Baldwin, Laommi, i 

Barber, William B., 24 

Barker, Susan, 62 

Barnard, Frederick A. Porter, 168 

Barrett Family, the, 173 

Barrington House, 157 

Barrington, Viscount, 152 

Bartholomew's Cobbles, 169 

Baruch, Bernard M., 38 

Bash Bish Falls, 186 

Baxter, James Phinney, III, 39 

Beaux, Cecilia, 198 

Beaver, 15 

Becket, 207, 218-224; recr., 340-342; 

map, 341 
Becket Falls, 222, 342 
Beebe, Levi, 147 
Beecher, Rev. Henry Ward, 132 
Beecher Hill, 132 
Bellows Pipe, 25 
Benedict, Isaac, 195 
Bennett, Joseph, 260 
Bennett, Mrs., 260 
Bennington, Batde of, 7, 53, 68 
Berkshire Art School, 196 
Berkshire Athenaeum, 72 
Berkshire Festival Society, 122 
Berkshire Glass Company, 57 
Berkshire Medical College, 71 
Berkshire Playhouse, 118 
Berkshires to the Capes Bridle Trail, 287, 

294, 298, 354, 360 
Billings, Josh, 47, 57, 58, 60 
Bird, Francis, 2 

Bishop, Cortlandt Field, 49, 129 
Bishop, David W., 129 
Bissell, Israel, 227 
"Bliss Hoof Cutter," 177 
Bolger, James, 248 
Boltwood, Edward, 79 
Bonny Rigg Four Corners, 218 
Bosquets Ski Run, 131 
"Boston Corner," 183 
Boston Symphony Orchestra, 122 
Bow Wow Cemetery, 171 
Bowen, Eugene Bucklin, 264 
Bradley, Jesse, 136 
Bradley, Joshia, 137 
Bradley House, 62 
Brague, Louis B., 230 
Brattle, William, 67 
Brewer, Capt. John, 196 
Bridle Trails, 284 




Briggs Iron Company, 56 

Briggsville, 15, 16 

Broad Hall, 75 

Brodie Mountain Road, 50, 56 

Brooks, Mrs. Gorham, 122 

Brown, Daniel, 265 

Brown, Capt. John M., 62 

Brown, Levi, 269 

Browne, Eleazar, 273 

Browne, John, 273 

Brownlee, Peggy, 153 

Brown's Boulder, 62 

Bryant, Frank, 206 

Bryant, Joseph, 98 

Bryant, William Cullen, 38, 154, 161, 228 

Budd, Col., 253 

Buel, Raymond, 91 

Bulfinch, Charles, 68 

Bullock, Capt. William, 16 

Bunter, Abe, 36 

Burbank, Abraham, 84 

Burbank Park, 84 

Burghardt, Lambert, 98 

Burgoyne, Gen. John, 153, 160, 219 

Burritt, Elihu, 189 

Burroughs, John, 198 

Budcr, Pierce, 126 

Campbell Falls, 192 

Adams, 357; Becket, 340; Dalton, 346; 
Florida, 285; Great Barrington, 320; 
Hancock, 300; Lanesborough, 298; Lee, 
316; Lenox, 313; Monterey, 332; Mount 
Washington, 327; New Ashford, 296; 
New Marlborough, 330; North Adams, 
290; Otis, 338; Peru, 348; Pittsfield, 
302; Sandisfield, 336; Savoy, 352; 
Washington, 343; Williamstown, 291; 
Windsor, 349 

Canfield, Squire, 205 

Carnegie, Andrew, 119 

Carson, David, 237 

Carson, Thomas, 237 

Carter, Franklin, 38 

Cascades, 25 

Chamberlain, Joseph, 236 

Chamberlain, Martin, 236 

Chapin Family, the, 89 

Charcoal City, 219 

Charlemont, 7 

Cheshire, 258-266; recr., 354-356; map, 

Cheshire Cheese, 258 
Cheshire Inn, 265 
Choate, Joseph H., 112, 117 
Choate, Mabel, 114 

Church, Luman, 141 

Church, Samuel, 141 

Clark, Nicholas, 15 

Clarksburg, i, 15-17; recr., 288, 289; 
map, 289 

Cleveland, Mrs. Frances Folsom, 198 

CliflFwood Road, 131 

Coffing, George and John, 93 

Cogswell, John, 89 

Cogswell, Nathan, 89 

Colby, J. L., 56 

Colby, Natalie Sedgwick, 116 

Cole, Molly, 259 

Cook, Nicholas, 260 

Coolidge, Pres. Calvin, 201 

Coolidge, Elizabeth Sprague, 77 

Coon Hollow Cave, 61 

Constitution Hill, 58, 60 

Cooper Family, the, 122 

COUNTRY CLUBS, 280; in Adams, 357; 
Clarksburg, 288; Dalton, 346; Egre- 
mont, 325; Great Barrington, 320; Hins- 
dale, 345; Lee, 316; Monterey, 334; 
North Adams, 290; Pittsfield, 302; 
Stockbridgc, 312; Williamstown, 291 

Covered Bridges, 147, 170 

Crane, George F., 222 

Crane, Stephen, 239 

Crane, W. M., 249 

Crane, Zenas, 72, 141, 234, 235, 240 

Crane, Zenas Marshall, 238, 240 

Crane & Co., 238 

Crane Museum, 239 

Cranwell School for Boys, 132 

Creamer, Frank G., 248 

Crocker, Capt. Joseph, 135 

Cross, David Cairn, 219 

Crowninshield, Frederic, 119 

Crystal Pool, 176 

Curran Memorial Highway, 20 

Cushman, Charlotte, 129 

Dalton, 226, 232-242; recr., 346-348; 
map, 347 

Dalton, Tristram, 232 

Dalton Laboratory Plan, 241 

Dalzell, David, 177 

Dalzell's Axle Factory, 182 

Darby, Joseph, 18 

Darling, Lucius, 171 

Davis House, 147 

Davis, Isaac, 134, 147 

Davis, Norman H., 109 

Deeley, Martin and Michael, 141 

Deerfield Valley, i, 5 

Deerfield River, 12, 13 

Delano, Mrs. Franklin, 116 



Deming, Dorothy, 65 

Deming, Solomon, 65 

Denemuth, Zorton, 93 

Dennett, William Tyler, 38 

Devil's Den, 175 

Dewey, Chester, 32, 168 

Diamond Cave, 61 

Dibble, John, 183 

Dickinson Family, the, 122 

Dickinson and Brown, 18 

"Dinah, Aunt," 35 

Disappearing Brook, 61 

Ditmars, Raymond L., 183 

Douglas, Asa, 54 

Drysdale, Rev. Euphemia, 253 

Dunham, "Crazy Sue," 70, 256 

D wight. Rev. Edwin Welles, 91 

Dwight, Elijah, 153 

Dwight, Henry W., 109 

Dwight, Gen. Joseph, 109 

Dwight, Pres. Timothy, 156 

East Hoosuck, 17, 18, 268 

East Lee, 145 

Easton, Col. James, 69 

Eaton, Amos, 32, 38 

Eaton, Henry Ware, 196 

Eaton Paper Company, 82 

Eaton, Walter Prichard, 155 

Edwards, Rev. Jonathan, 105, 107, iii, 

Eggleston, Benjamin, 94 
Egremont, 172, 175-180; recr., 325-327; 

map, 326 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 89 
Emmet, Lydia Field, 119 
Ensign, Raymond P., 196 
Ephraim, Chief, 88 
Estes, "Big Bill," 253 
Fairchild, Frances, 1 54 
Fairfield, Nathaniel, 65 
Federal Fish Hatchery, 189 
Fernside, 199 
Field Chime Tower, 112 
Field, Cyrus W., 112, 113 
Field, Rev. David Dudley, 109, iii, 112, 


Field, David Dudley, Jr., 112, 113 

Field, Dudley, 109 

Field, Rev. Henry, 113 

Field House, 115 

Field, Rachel, 113 

Field, Stephen, 38, 113 

Filley, Lester, 210 

FISHING, 280; in Adams, 357; Alford, 

325; Becket, 340; Cheshire, 354; 

Clarksburg, 288; Dalton, 346; Egre- 

mont, 325; Florida, 285; Great Bar- 
rington, 320; Hancock, 300; Hinsdale, 
345; Lanesborough, 298; Lee, 316; 
Lenox, 315; Monterey, 334; Mount 
Washington, 329; New Ashford, 296; 
New Marlborough, 330; North Adams, 
290; Otis, 338; Peru, 349; Pittsfield, 
304; Richmond, 309; Sandisfield, 336; 
Savoy, 352; Sheffield, 324; Stockbridge, 
312; Tyringham, 335; Washington, 
343; Williamstown, 291; Windsor, 349 

Fishing Regulations, 281 

Fiske, "Jubilee" Jim, 212 

Fitch, Dr. Ebenezer, 30 

Fitch, Sanford, 173, 190 

Florida, 1-15; recr., 285-288; map, 286 

Flower House, 93 

Foote, Nathaniel, 136 

Forbush, Edward Howe, Memorial Wild 
Life Sanctuary, 50 

Ford, Charles, 251 

Foster, Giraud, 129 

Freeman, Elizabeth (see "Mum Bet") 

Freese Family, the, 136 

French, Daniel Chester, 109, 119, 198 

Frissell, Thomas A., 230 

Gabrilowitch, Ossip, 198 

Gallup, Samuel, 254 

Garfield, Harry A., 38 

Garfield, Isaac, 195 

Garfield, Pres. James A., 35, 38, 196, 201 

Gates Petee and Co., 93 

General Electric Co., 79 

Gilder, Richard Watson, 198 

Gladden, Rev. Washington, 19, 22, 33, 
34. 273 

Gold, Thomas, 75 

GOLF COURSES in Lenox, 315; Stock- 
bridge, 312 

Goodale, Elaine and Dora, 185 

Goodale, Henry Sterling, 185 

Goodrich, Charles, 66, 67 

Gordon, George W., 265 

Great Barrington, 149-165; recr., 320-323; 
maps, 150, 321 

Great Council Fire, 157 

Great Ford way, 151, 160 

Great Road, 151, 2H 

Great Wigwam, 151 

Greeley, Horace, 142 

Green, Bryan, 32 

Greenfield, i 

Greylock Beacon, 43, 274 

Greylock Mining and Milling Co., 275 

Greylock State Reservation, 42, 357, 359; 
map, 358 



Griffin, Dr. Edward, 31 

Griffith, Lucille, 221 

Hadley, Henry, 121 

Hairpin Turn, 13 

Hallenbeck, John, 181 

Hancock, 44, 49-56; recr., 300-302; map, 

Hand, Samuel, 49 
Hanging Mountain, 204 
Hanna, Dan, 119 
Haskell, Volney, 213 
Hawks, Col., 25 
Hawley, Frank, 205 
Hawthorne, Julian, 121 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 8, 13, 14, 18, 43, 

72. 73, 77. 119, 120, 253, 273, 274 
Haylon, Dennis J., 44 
Haystack Monument, 32 
Hayward, Carey S., 44 
Hazard, Prof. Alfred, 213 
Heebner, Charles, 138 
"Hell's Acres," 183 
Hewat, A. J., 15 
Hewins Street, 167 
Hiking Trails, 284 
Hinsdale, 226-232; recr., 345-346; map, 

Hinsdale, Jonathan, 122, 130 
Hinsdale, Nancy, 229 
Hinsdale, Rev. Theodore, 226 
Hinsdale Brothers, 228 
Ho-bo-mo-ko, 242 
Holbrook, Josiah, 21 
Holland, J. G., 2 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 2, 72, 75, 86, 89, 


Holmesdale, 73 

Holmwood, 130 

Hoosac Tunnel, i, 9, 13, 36 

Hoosic Valley, 8, 17, 258 

Hopkins, Albert, 32 

Hopkins Astronomical Observatory, 33 

Hopkins, Mark, 34, 158 

Hopkins, Mark, Jr., 158 

Hopkins, Moses, 158 

Hopkins, Rev. Samuel, 104, 157, 158, 

Hosmer, Harriet, 129 
Houch Family, the, 136 
Housatonic, 160 
Housatonic Fair, 162 
Housatonic Railroad, 140. 163 
Housatonic Valley, 63, 107, '35 
Hudson, Seth, 14 
Hulbert Family, the, 173 
Hull, Eliakin, 205 

Humphreyville, Reuben, 57 

HUNTING, 282; in Adams, 357; Alford, 
325; Becket, 340; Cheshire, 356; Clarks- 
burg, 288; Dalton, 348; Egremont, 
327; Florida, 287; Great Barrington, 
322; Hancock, 300; Hinsdale, 346; 
Lanesborough, 299; Lee, 316; Lenox, 
315; Monterey, 334; Mount Washing- 
ton, 329; New Ashford, 296; New Marl- 
borough, 330; North Adams, 290; Otis, 
339; Peru, 349; Pittsfield, 304; Rich- 
mond, 310; Sandisfield, 336; Savoy, 
352; Sheffield, 324; Stockbridge, 312; 
Tyringham, 335; Washington, 343; 
West Stockbridge, 310; Williamstown, 
293; Windsor, 351 

Huxley Hill, 192 

Hyde, Alexander, 139 

Hyde, Dr. Alvan, 138 

Ice Glen, 116 

Ice Gulch, 161 

ICE SPORTS, 282; in Dalton, 348; Great 
Barrington, 322; Lanesborough, 299; 
Lee, 318; Lenox, 315; Otis, 339; Pitts- 
field, 304; Sheffield, 324; Stockbridge, 

In the Sands, 171 

Indian Cave, 196 

Ingersoll, David, 153 

Ingersoll, William, 135 

Interlaken, 119 

Ives, George H., 154 

Jackson, Pres. Andrew, 259 

Jackson, Richard, 51 

Jacob's Dream, 218 

Jacob's Ladder, 135, 145 

Jacob's Well, 218 

James, G. P. R., 116 

Jefferson, Joseph, 198 

Jefferson, Pres. Thomas, 259 

Jenks, Daniel, 269 

Jenks, William, 269 

Johnson, Owen, 109 

Johnson Family, the, 173 

Jones, E. D., and Sons, 82 

Jones, Joseph, 199 

Judson, Ephraim, 205 

Judson, Phoebe, 45 

Karner, Andrew and Robert, 176 

Karner, Mary, 176 

Keith, Herbert, 181, 183 

Kellogg, Nathan, 267 

Kemble, Fanny, 75, 126, 129, 131, 133 

Kenmore, 89 

Ketchum, Capt. Matthew, 15 

Kidd, Captain, 266 



Kinne, Rev. Aaron, 179 

Kirkland, John, 105 

Kitson, Henry Hudson, 200 

Knox, Gen. Henry, 211 

Kobbe, Marie, 119 

Konkapot, Chief, 104, 106, 112, 160,162, 

Konkapot Treaty, 98 

Koussevitsky, Serge, 122 

Laflin Brothers, 142 

Ashmere, 228, 345, 348, 349; Bene- 
dict, 197, 320, 334; Berry, 56, 85, 300, 
302; Big (or Benton), 338, 339; Blue, 
269; Buel, 188, 195, 330, 332, 334; 
Carl Peer, 343; Center, 219, 340; 
Clarksburg, 288; Clear Brook, 349; 
Crane, 310; Creek, 338; East India, 192, 
330; Echo (or Averic), 313; Felton, 
224, 343; Garfield, 195, 332, 334; 
Greer, 348, 349; Goose, 148, 316, 335; 
Greenwater, 340, 342; Guilder, 327, 
329; Halfway, 343; Harmon, 332; 
Hayes, 338; Hermit (or Cranberry), 
192, 310; Hoosac, (Cheshire Reser- 
voir), 298, 354; Juniper, 332; Laurel, 
148, 313, 315, 316; Lilly, 312; Lulu, 
304; Mahkeenao (or Stockbridge 
Bowl), 119, 312; Mill, 324; Mohawk, 
312; Mud (Washington), 343; Mud 
(West Stockbridge), 310; North, 12, 
285; Onota, 83, 302, 304; Otis, 214, 
338, 339; Parish, 338, 339; Pendergast, 
322; Plunkett, 345; Pontoosuc, 84, 302, 
304; Prospect, 325; Quarter Acre, 351; 
Richmond, 304, 309, 310; Root, 320; 
Rudd, 340; Shaker Mill, 310; Shaw, 
340; Simon, 336; Spectacle, 336; South, 
281, 352; Tannery, 352; Upper Goose, 
316, 335; Upper Spectacle, 336, 338; 
White Lilly, 339; Windsor, 349, 351; 
Windsor (North Adams), 290; Yokum, 
219, 340; York, 281, 330, 332 

Lane, James, 57 

Lanesborough, 44, 56-63; recr., 298-300; 
map, 297 

Lanesborough Iron Works, 57 

Laurel Hill Association, 109 

Lawrence, Abel, 255 

Lawrence Hall, 39 

Lee, 134-148; recr., 316-320; map, s^y 

Lee, Maj. Gen. Charles, 137 

Lee, Mother Ann, 54 

Lee Lime Corporation, 141 

Leland, John, 259, 262 

Lennox, Charles, 89, 123 

Lenox, 103, 122-133; recr., 313-316; 
maps, 127, 314 

Lenox Academy, 128 

Lenox School for Boys, 129 

Lenox Station, 132 

Lenoxdale, 132 

Lindsay, Charles, 167 

Little, Woodbridge, 57, 61 

Livingston, Robert, 181 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 75 

Loudon, Lord, 208 

Low, Col. Samuel, 262 

Lyell, Charles, 87 

Madison, Pres. James, 263 

Mahicans, the, 65, 103, 104, 123, 157, 
162, 173, 176 

McAllister, Ward, 156 

McEachron, Karl B., 80 

McKinley, Pres. William, 270 

Mead, Darius, 57 

Meadowbrook Arena, 20 

Melville, Herman, 70, 73, 76, 85, 120 

Melville, Maj. Thomas, 76 

Miller Brothers, 226 

Mills, Samuel J., Jr., 32 

Mission House, 114 

Mohawk Indians, the, 6 

Mohawk Park, 11 

Mohawk Trail, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14 

Monterey, 187, 195-197; recr., 332-335; 
map, 333 

Monument Mountain Reservation, 323 

Moore, Dr., 21 

Morgan, Edwin D., 224 

Mosher, Steve, 175 

Mount, the, 130 

Mount Everett Reservation, 327 

Mount Hope Farm, 37 

Mount Washington, 172, 180-186; recr., 
327-330; map, 328 

345; Bear, 147, 318; Beartown, 318; 
Becket, 342; Bee, 295; Berlin, 293; 
Bernard's, 290; Berry, 306, 309; 
Brodie, 299; Bulldog, 348; Bushnell, 
327; Dome (Vermont), 295; East, 149, 
164, 322, 323, 324; Eph's Lookout, 
290; Everett, 149, 165, 172, 175, 180, 
329, 335; Fitch, 360; Greylock, 21, 
24, 25, 42, 266, 291, 294, 356; Hon- 
wee, 85, 307, 309; Hoosac, i, 6, 8, 12, 
17, 21; Jones' Nose, 298, 356; Jug 
End, 175, 327; June, 324; Laurel, 313; 
Lebanon, 54; Mohawk Trail, 287; 
Monument, 149, 155, 161; North, 121, 
348; October, 132; Pine, 306, 308; 



Pixlcy, 135; Pine CoBble, 295; Potter, 
63; Prospect, 291, 294; Race, 335; 
Saddle Ball, 298; Savoy, 354; Seekonk 
Brook, 323; Sheep, 293; South, 77; 
Sterling, 327; Stockbridge, 100; Stone, 
296; Three Mile, 323; Tom Ball, 10 1, 
175; Tower, 308; Tulley, 346; Undine, 
329, 330; Walling, 342; Warner, 149, 
322, 323, 346; Washington, 221, 250; 
Weston, 348; Williams, 291; Wilcox, 
319, 332, 335; Windsor, 254; Yokum 
Seat, 305 

Mowbray, Prof. George M., 4, 5 

Mudge, Micah, 88 

Mulholland, Nancy, 219 

"Mum Bet" (Elizabeth Freeman), 11 1 

Munger Family, the, 173 

Museum of Natural History and Art, 72 

Natural Bridge, 14 

Naumkcag, 117 

Nelson, Dr. Daniel, 9 

Nettleton, Walter, 119 

New Ashford, 44-49; recr., 296-298; 
map, 297 

New Guinea, 171 

New Marlborough, 187-195; recr., 330- 
332; map, 331 

New Notch Road, 25 

New York Philharmonic O.cehstra, 122 

Nichols, William, 91 

Noble, Matthew, 165 

North Adams, i, 17-26; recr., 290, 291; 
map, 289 

Notch, the, 25 

Notch Brook, 25 

Nudist Colony, 209 

O'Brien, "Jim," 148 

Old Egremont, Inc., 177 

Old Fort Massachusetts, 25, 28 

"Old Nogard," 92 

Oliver, Rev. Andrew, 222 

Osgood, Kate Putnam, 146 

Otis, 207-218; recr., 338, 339; map, 341 

Otis, Harrison, G., 208 

Overnight Accommodations, 283 

Owen and Hurlburt, 141 

Page, Mr. and Mrs. George, 229 

Parker's Flood, 19 

Parmalee, Capt. Moses, 90 

Parmalee, Silas, 90 

Partridge, Oliver, 232, 251, 267 

Peace Party House, 69 

Peek, F. W., 80 

Pell, John, 166 

Perry, Arthur Latham, 38 

Perry, Bliss, 38 

Perry, John, 18 

Perry, Roland, 91 

Pershing, Gen. John J., 230 

Peru, 243-252; recr., 348, 349; map, 350 

Peter's Cave, 138 

Phillips, Wendell, 23 

Pierson Family, the, 90 

Pitt, William, 67 

Pittsfield, 64-86; recr., 302-309; maps, 66, 

303, 307 
Pittsfield and Stockbridge Railroad, 139 
Pixley, Reuben, 135 
Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, 131, 315 
Plunkett, Charles H., 227 
Plunkett, William B., 270 
Plunkett, William C, 268 
Pollock, Solomon, 203 
Pollock, William, 268 
Pontoosuc Lake Park, 84 
Pontoosac Turnpike, 222 
Poordunk, 272 
Pope, Franklin Leonard, 156 
Potter, Mountain Road, 50 
Pratt, Bill, 36 
Prentice, E. Parmalee, 37 
Profile Rock, 186 
Proprietors' House, 41 
Purgatory, 161 
Quakers, the, 267, 271 
Race, William, 182 
Raycroft Lookout, 12 
Red Bat Cave, 49 
Red Mill, 15 

Red Mill (Ashley Falls), 169 
Rhodes, Polly, 194 
Rice, Samuel, 6 
Richardson, Mrs, Laura Smith (Catlin), 

Richmond, 87-93; ^ecr., 309, 310; map, 


Richmond Boulder Trains, 87 

Richmond Cave, 21 

Richmond Furnace, 93 

Richmond Iron Works, 93 

RIVERS, Buck (or Montville), 336; 
Chickley, 352; Clam, 336, 338; Cold, 
286; Deerfield, 12, 13; Farmington^ 
338; Green, 164, 175, 293, 296, 300, 
320, 325; Hoosic, 17, 243, 288, 354, 
Housatonic, 141, 149, 159, 161, 236, 
243. 345; Konkapot (or Mill), 188, 
193. 324. 332, 334; Westfield, 343, 
348, 351, 352; Williams, 310, 320; 
Windsor, 351 

Roaring Brook, 224 

Robert, Louis, 142 




Rockwell Road, 43 

Rogers, Elder Clark, 55 

Rogers, Marcus, 193 

Roosevelt, Pres. Franklin D., 116, 139 

Root, George Francis, 168 

Ross Falls, 257 

Rowland, Rev. L. S., 146 

Russian Colony, 203 

Ryan, Michael, 22 

Saint Gaudens, Augustus, 198 

Saint Stanislaus School for Novitiates, 120 

Sampson, C. T., 22 

Sandisfield, 187, 202-206; recr., 336-338; 

map, 337 
Sand Spring, 37 
Savoy, 243, 254-257; recr., 352-354; 

map, 353 
Saw)'er-Regan Co., 239 
Schagticoke Indians, the, 123 
Schermerhorn, Mrs. Augustus, 128 
Schermerhorn Gorge, 224, 320 
Scholfield, Arthur, 81 
Scrabbletown, 265 
Sears, Jason, 205 
Searles, Edward F., 158, 164 
Searles, Mrs. Edward F., 157 
Sedgwick, Catherine (Kate), 75, 108, 115, 

116, 125, 128, 129 
Sedgwick, Charles, 108, 125, 128 
Sedgwick, Mrs. Charles, 129 
Sedgwick, Henry D., 109 
Sedgwick, Theodore, 108, in, 125 
Sedgwick, William Ellery, 109 
Sedgwick House, 115 
Seekonk Brook, 175 
Sergeant, John, 104, 105, 107, in, 112, 

Sergeant, John, Jr., 105, 107 
Shadowbrook Cottage, 119 
Shakers, the, 100 
Shaker Settlement, 199 
Shaker Village, 55 
Shays' Rebellion, 21, in, 137, 153, 170, 

178, 324 
Sheffield, 149, 165-171; recr., 324-325; 

map, 328 
Sheffield, Edmund, 165 
Sheldon, Benjamin, 190 
Sheldon, Mrs. Elizabeth, 190 
Shepard, Dr. Samuel, 131 
Sherrill, Henry, 91 
Sherrill, Mary, 91 
Sherrill, Mary L., 91 
Sherrill. William H., 92 
Sherwood Family, the, 158 
Silvernail House, 99 

Simonds, Col. Benjamin, 40 

SKIING, 284; in Adams, 357; Alford, 
325; Becket, 342; Cheshire, 356; Dal- 
ton, 348; Egremont, 327; Florida, 287; 
Great Barrington, 322; Hinsdale, 346; 
Lanesborough, 299; Lee, 318; Lenox, 
315; New Ashford, 296; North Adams, 
290; Pittsfield, 305; Stockbridge, 313; 
Williamstown, 293 

"Sky Farm," the, 185 

Sky Line Trail, 131 

Slab City, 18, 21 

Sloane, John, 132 

Slosson, Elijah, 99 

Slosson, Eliphet, 99 

Smedley, Nehemiah, 41 

Smith, Gideon, 123 

Smith, Jonathan, 57, 60 

South Mountain, 77 

Southfield, 190 

Spoor, Isaac, John, and Jacob, 176 

Sprague, Frank J., 23 

Spring, Sammy, 213 

Squaw Peak, 161, 162 

Stafford, Joab, 260, 264 

Stafford Hill, 260, 264 

Stanley, William, 80, 156 

STATE FORESTS, 283; Arthur Whar- 
ton Swann, 196, 334; Bash Bish, 186; 
Beartown, 131, 196, 197, 334; Camp- 
bell Falls, 330; Clarksburg, 288; East 
Mountain, 322; Mohawk Trail, 11, 257, 
287, 354; Monroe, 12, 287; October 
Mountain, 148, 221, 223, 315, 343; 
Otis, 339; Peru, 348, 349; Pittsfield, 
63, 85, 308; Sandisfield, 300, 336; 
Savoy Mountain, 12, 257, 352; Tolland, 
338; Windsor, 254, 351 

State Line, 98 

Steadman, Capt. Tom, 201 

Steadman Rake Shop, 201 

Steadman, Tristian, 195 

Steele, Rev. Eliphalet, 178 

Steinmetz, Dr. Charles P., 80 

Stephens Family, the, 122 

Sterner, Albert, 91 

Stetson Hall, 39 

Stockbridge, 103-122; recr., 312, 313; 
maps, no, 311 

Stockbridge Bowl, 119 

Stockbridge Indians Burial Place, 107 

Stokes, Anson Phelps, 119 

Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 158 

Strong, Mrs. Elizabeth, 189 

Strong-Hewat Company, 15 

Snirtevant, Charles H., 253 



Suicide Hill, 204 

SUMMER THEATRES, Stockbridgc, 118; 

Williamstown, 42 
Sumner, Charles, 77, 128 
Swazey, Helton, 4, 5 
Symphonic Festival, 121 
Talcott, Maj. John, 152, 160 
Tanglewood, 121 
Tannery Falls, 12 
Tannery Falls Park, 257 
Taylor, Horace, 86 
Taylor, Ralph, House, 154 
Ted Shawn's Colony, 218 
Thompson, "Aunt Hagar", 35 
Thompson Memorial Chapel, 39 
Thoreau, Henry D., 39, 273 
Tipping Rock, 192 
Tinker's, 201 
Tobey, Frederick, 99 
Tobogganing, Lee, 320 
Tory Cave, 124 
Tory Glen, 224 
Towne, C. H., 42 
Trading Post, 91 
Treadway, Allen, 116 
Trumbull, Henry, 25 
Tuller, John, 178 
Turnpike, Second Massachusetts, 6 
Twain, Mark, 199, 201 
Twentymen, Robert, 48 
Twin Falls, 12 
Tyer, Peter, 148 
Tyringham, 187, 197-202; recr., 335, 336; 

map, 333 
Tytus, Mrs. Robb de Peyster, 199 
Umpachenee, Chief, 104 
Umpachenee Falls, 193 
Union Mill, 219 
Van Buren, Pres. Martin, 137 
Vanderbilt, Mrs. Cornelius, 119 
Van der Smissen, Dr. Gilbert, 183 
Van Deusen Family, the, 136 
Van Deusenville, 160 
Van Guilder, John, 176 
Van Rensselaer, Stephen, 40, 75 
Van Shaack, Henry, 75 
Van Tassel Family, the, 136 
Van Valkendate, 104 
Wadhams, 92 

Wahconah Brook Falls, 241 
Walton, Isabel, 64 
Ward, Samuel, 125 
Warren, Francis E., 229 
Washington, 207, 221-225; recr., 343- 

345; map. 344 
Watson, Sheffield, 222 
Watson, Elkanah, 76, 81 

Welch Family, the, 42 

Well Sweep House, 40 

Welles, Thomas, 267 

Wendell, Col. Jacob, 65 

Werden, Rev. Peter, 261 

West Becket, 218 

West, Stephen, 105, 107, iii 

West Stockbridge, 87, 93-102; recr., 310- 

312; map, 311 
Western Railroad, 96 
Westinghouse, George, 130 
Weston, Byron, 240 
Weston, Rev. Isaiah, 239 
Wharton, Edith, 130, 198 
Wheeler, Benjamin, 187 
Wheeler, Ephraim, 131 
Whitbeck, Russell, 183 
Whitcomb Summit, 13 
White, Col., 9 
White, Forest C, 46 
White, R. H., 229 
White Swan, 186 
Whitney, William C, 223 
Wilcox Family, the, 173 
Wilcox, Peter, 137, 138 
Wilcox, Peter, Jr., 138 
Willard, John, 235 
Willard, Simon, 171 
Williams College, 27, 30 
Williams, Elijah, 99 
Williams, Ephraim, 39, 88 
Williams, Ephraim, Jr., 27 
Williams, Israel, 69, 233 
Williams, Lucretia, 68, 69 
Williams, John Chandler, 68, 69 
Williams, Rev. Stephen, 104 
Williams, William, 84, 99, 233 
Williamstown, 27-43; recr., 291-296; 

map, 292 
Wilson, Allen, 21 
Windham, Charles, 176 
Windsor, 243, 252-254; recr., 349-351; 

^ap> 350 
Windsor Jambs, 254 
Winegar, John, 134 
Wiswall, Henry, 235, 237 
Wizard's Glen, 242 
Wondo, 83 

Woodbridge, Squire, 99 
Woodbridge, Timothy, 88, 104, 106 
Wood, Ichabod, 88 
Wurtzbach, Frederick, 143 
Yokun, Chief, 86, 88, 122 
Yokuntown, 88, 122 
YOUTH HOSTELS, Adams, 360; Florida, 

288; Lanesborough, 300; ShefiBeld, 325 
Zylonite, 269